Doctors are notorious for working around-the-clock shifts, extra-long weeks, and powering through their patient loads and other duties on little rest.
Yet more and more practitioners are looking for part-time physician jobs that provide different kinds of options. And they are finding them.
Could part-time work for you?
A part-time position, defined as less than 40 hours per week, might help you find more time with family, lower your stress and avoid physician burnout—or it could provide a secondary income. It could even help you transition to another stage in your career.
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The stats on part-time physician jobs
The Medscape 2017 Physician Compensation Report surveyed more than 19,200 physicians and found that 11 percent of men and 22 percent of women currently work part-time physician jobs.
And the 2016 Survey of America’s Physicians, conducted by Merritt Hawkins for The Physician’s Foundation, found that 21.4 percent of the physicians surveyed planned to cut back on their hours in the next 1-3 years, and 11.5 percent of them planned to work locum tenens, which are temporary assignments that can be part-time or full-time.
5 ways part-time physician jobs could meet your work–life goals
1. Add a secondary source of income
Sometimes called “medical moonlighting,” the idea of working a second job as a physician has been around for decades.
Medical residents may take a part-time job for the extra income to help pay off medical school debt, but the 2016 Medical Economics Physician Report found that secondary jobs are actually more common for physicians in the middle or latter part of their careers. These experienced physicians may want to save for a major expense, such as buying a home, putting their kids through college, or preparing for their own retirement.
Some examples of secondary, part-time jobs for physicians may include:
● Inpatient moonlighting, i.e. hospitalists taking extra shifts in other areas of the hospital, or at a nursing home
● Outpatient moonlighting, working shifts at a clinic, urgent care center, telemedicine center, or private practice
● Providing physician services for entertainment events, sporting events and other short-term activities
● Serving as part-time medical faculty
● Working as an expert witness, consultant or speaker
Before taking any secondary job, doctors are advised to check contracts with their employer or practice for any conditions that could affect medical moonlighting activities.
2. Make a part-time arrangement with your practice or hospital
Medical practices and healthcare facilities are becoming more amenable to the idea of allowing part-time physician jobs in order to retain valuable physicians. They realize that offering part-time options may help reduce physician burnout and turnover, which helps them cut back on the costs of recruiting and replacing physicians.
If you are currently working full-time and considering cutting back, talk to your managers or colleagues. They may be willing to work out some kind of part-time or job-sharing arrangement.
Specialties based on shift work, such as hospitalists, emergency physicians, radiologists, anesthesiologists, etc., may find it easier to arrange part-time physician jobs.
3. Job-share with another physician
Job sharing is generally defined as two physicians sharing a single full-time position (FTE), including on-call rotations.
A 2017 report by the American College of Physicians, entitled Part-time Employment for Physicians, found that job-sharing is more common with physicians looking for flexibility during their child-rearing years, especially with female internists.
The report’s authors pointed out that job sharing among physicians “can be an excellent solution,” able to reduce problems for the practice and enhance the probability that part-time employment will succeed. But it also adds some complexity, since two physicians must agree to work opposite schedules and they must work and communicate very well together.
4. Create a practice with limited hours
Physicians in certain medical specialties may be able to design a private practice based on specific hours and days of the week. They can make themselves available only on set days, which may include expanded hours to accommodate patient schedules.
Building a care team consisting of nurse practitioners, physician assistants and support staff may make this type of arrangement possible. Doctors may also work out special arrangements with any other physicians in a group practice.
5. Take a part-time locum tenens assignment
One of the more popular types of part-time physician jobs are locum tenens positions, which are temporary assignments arranged through a staffing agency like Staff Care. Locum tenens jobs can be either part-time or full-time.
Physicians can choose part-time locum assignments for many of the same reasons they might choose other types of part-time physician jobs, such as to:
● Cut back on hours to improve work–life balance with a part-time position;
● Add secondary income with a part-time locums position close to home;
● Transition from full-time work to retirement or another type of career
Part-time locum tenens jobs can be found in medical practices, acute care hospitals, outpatient clinics, urgent care facilities, rehabilitation facilities and other types of healthcare environments.
FIND full-time or part-time physician jobs across the country with Staff Care, the leader in locum tenens staffing. We also place nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and physician assistants.