Health Professionals Using Flexible Work Schedules, Policies

Mar 27, 2012, 1:00 PM

More physicians are working less than full time, seeking part-time or flexible schedules instead, according to a survey released earlier this month. The 2011 Physician Retention Survey, conducted by physician search firm Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association, found that 22 percent of male physicians and 44 percent of female physicians worked less than full time in 2011.

Physicians from two particular age groups are driving this trend, according to American Medical News. Men nearing retirement age and women at the beginning or middle of their careers—presumably when they are raising children—are most likely to work part time or to insist on a flexible work schedule.

Nurses are also taking advantage of flexible work schedules, reports, and more employers are offering programs and policies to improve employees’ work-life balance. Hospitals are offering on-site fitness centers, child care, incentive programs for employees to eat healthier meals and smoking cessation programs, the story reports, to help staff members live healthier and more balanced lives while they are at work.

“You can’t give of yourself [as an employee] if you are not whole,” Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, an alumna of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program and executive director of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), told ANCC’s Magnet Recognition program and Pathway to Excellence program encourage flexible staffing models, healthy work environments and work-life balance for nurses. ANCC’s participating organizations “are very deliberate and very thoughtful about making sure their nurses are whole,” she added.

What do you think? Is flexible scheduling important for health care professionals? Are there other ways organizations can help their employees manage their work-life balance? Register below to leave a comment.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.