Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Women Physicians Making a Difference in Your Practice

In 2004, women accounted for 25.2% of the physician workforce and 41% of physicians in training programs. This number is expected to increase since women made up the majority of medical school applicants in 2003-2004. It is predicted that by the year 2010, approximately 40% of US physicians will be women.

As you know, before women could build careers as physicians they had to fight even to be allowed to attend medical school. After proving that they were as capable as men, they went on to campaign for additional professional training and other career opportunities.

Today women physicians are serving in the highest ranks of the medical profession, caring for whole communities and responding to new challenges in health care around the world. As high-profile leaders they offer new examples of roles for women today, and they institute strategies to help more women reach the very top of the profession.

The National Library of Medicine is offering an exhibition on Women Physicians that might be of interest. Check it out.

Women are making a difference in the landscape of medicine as their numbers increase. They want to be "employees" more often with flexible schedules. The AMA indicates that women are in employed roles 60% of the time compared with their male counterparts who assume employed roles only 31% of the time. Female physicians on average work 25% fewer hours than male physicians. Employers of physicians - listen up! Female candidates require more flexibility in their work environment. If they don't have it they find jobs where they can have it. If you need to be fully staffed, you need to think about how flexible your working environment can be.

A survey of 2,443 women and 653 men, co-authored by Sylvia Ann Hewlett of the Center for Work-Life Policy, found only 5 percent of mothers who return to work even want to go back to their former employers; instead, they seek flexibility at smaller firms or by starting their own businesses. Making it all the more important for larger firms to address the issue.

A growing number of employers are taking major steps to help women with an age-old problem: Returning to the work force after taking time off to raise kids. A study of 13,838 employees, found women ages 25 to 40 making more than $75,000 a year had turnover rate of 11.4 percent a year. But research also shows these women seek to return to the work force fairly quickly, as long as they have a workable and appealing setup.

Healthcare employers need to be cognizant that the female employee is an important part of the work force. Physician employers need to know that they can accommodate the surge in female physicians, but their success will be in creating a employment culture that has more give and shorter hours.

Happy and healthy hiring.