By definition, working fewer than 40 hours per week is considered part time. The primary care fields are among the most favorable to part-time work, especially be cause they are appointment based. Specialties with highly controllable hours are also as conducive, such as the shift work of emergency medicine, the case-by-case nature of anesthesiology, the scheduled hours of pathology and radiology, and the lack of off-hour emergencies in dermatology and ophthalmology. Even surgeons can work part time. Breast surgeons, for instance, perform mainly elective surgery and can therefore schedule fewer cases and less clinic time each week. Another way to work part time is to arrange for a shared-schedule position with another physician. In this format, each doctor works half time with alternating appointment schedules; together, they equal one practitioner. Some even arrange this system with their spouse if both are in the same specialty. In either situation, remember that working part time means sacrificing higher salaries for flexibility. Another disadvantage is that part-time academic physicians are ineligible for tenure, and those in private practice often are unable to become partners or stockholders in the practice. Women should also keep in mind that many unsympathetic colleagues may be hostile to physicians seeking to change their schedules to fulfill parental roles.
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