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Part-Time Doctoring

Aaron Morgenstein, MD suggests that, instead of entirely quitting clinical medicine, physicians consider becoming “part-time doctors.”

Have you ever felt stuck in your medical career? Have you considered backing away or quitting?

There is a growing phenomenon of practitioners looking to leave clinical medicine altogether, especially physicians. But why? Are they all burned out?

One must ask, are physicians leaving medicine because corporate medicine is too much for them? Are physicians burned out due to their full-time job, or have they found the practice of medicine unfulfilling? There are so many reasons why physicians want to quit clinical medicine. The healthcare system is built to wear any reasonable individual down. The medical profession becomes a constant battle for physicians as they struggle with the documentation required, lack of reimbursement, and unrealistic patient expectations.

 

One must ask, are physicians leaving medicine because corporate medicine is too much for them? Are physicians burned out due to their full-time job, or have they found the practice of medicine unfulfilling? Click To Tweet

 

Physicians are looking for alternative careers rather than the traditional practice of medicine. Many are leaving their work at clinics and hospitals for telemedicine. Others are leaving clinical medicine for full-time non-clinical roles to become utilization reviewers, med-legal consultants,  pharmaceutical advisors, and life coaches.

Do physicians need to leave the practice of medicine entirely? If we were to lower the volume and workload of physicians by, let’s say, 30%, we could potentially eliminate burnout. It’s simple; physicians need more time away from medicine to avoid burnout and to continue treating the overwhelming number of patients needing their help. This article proposes that practitioners consider part-time roles in clinical medicine rather than leaving medicine altogether. We advocate for more facilities to make part-time opportunities available for those looking to work less but still get paid well.

Each physician has their own reasons for why they want to leave their full-time roles in medicine. Whatever your reasons for leaving your full-time clinical role, don’t let your family or pursuit of other things force you out of medicine. You spent many years in school and training to get where you are today. Are you willing to throw it all the way with a snap of the fingers? Maybe some of you are, but many out there would not mind keeping one toe in the water. Let’s face it; once you leave medicine entirely, the industry does not always welcome you back with open arms. There can be many obstacles for clinicians and surgeons that take significant time off from clinical medicine that want to return to action. Instead of taking a hiatus from clinical medicine, find an arrangement to work part-time to maintain the skills you spent so many years training to learn.

As a part-time clinician, you can work as little or as much as you want. Consider the following examples of how you might arrange your schedule to work part-time.

  • 1-2 days per week
  • 2-4 days per month
  • 1-2 weeks per month
  • 1-2 weekends per month
  • 7-10 days per month
  • Every other week
  • Every third or every sixth week

Based on your responsibilities and available time, you will have to determine how much you want to work and what type of arrangement you want to set up. Other things to consider would be the following:

  • Local facility or one that requires travel
  • Shift work or 24-hour call
  • Night shift or day shift
  • Elective or non-elective procedures
  • Short-term or long-term

Finding a unique working arrangement is not always easy. Many staffing agencies offer temporary staffing opportunities. There are also privately held companies that run service lines within facilities that could use a part-time practitioner. We propose that practitioners look to contract directly with facilities to make these arrangements. Find a facility willing to work with you on a recurring, part-time basis.  Contracting directly cuts out the middleman, so you can negotiate directly with the facility to get what you are looking for.

Take the time to consider a part-time career in medicine. Don’t let all that hard work in medical school and residency go to waste. You may want to pursue other things in life, but consider staying in medicine, even if it is only in a minimal role.

 

Take the time to consider a part-time career in medicine. Don’t let all that hard work in medical school and residency go to waste. You may want to pursue other things in life, but consider staying in medicine, even if it is only in a… Click To Tweet

 

For those that are burned out from medicine, think about working less. You can start looking for part-time clinical positions rather than leaving medicine altogether. More time off will allow you to decompress and pursue other professional adventures. Access to more part-time roles will improve work-life balance and lessen the burnout rate of physicians.

Ultimately, practitioners must decide what is best for them and their careers. Hopefully, this article has opened your eyes to the idea of working less to improve your work-life balance. It may seem like part-time opportunities are not available, but they are. There is a facility willing to contract directly with you for part-time work.

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