9 Keys for Family-Oriented Physicians

Melissa Knipp

For female physicians or physicians that place a heavy importance on family, there are many aspects of a position to consider before signing a contract that single male physicians would not have to consider.

1.     School District—From public vs. private to test scores and graduation rates, many physicians who are also parents take schools in proximity of the hospital into consideration when finding the hospital that is the perfect fit.

 2.     Crime Rates—Female physicians, whether or not they have a family, often consider the crime rates in the area surrounding place of employment when negotiating a contract. Statistically, males do not have to worry as much as females about high crime rates, so females, especially when they work long hours, often do not want to work in high-crime areas. In some urban areas, female healthcare professionals are walked to their cars by security guards at all times of the day, turning some females away from these areas. Parents also consider neighborhood safety when choosing a place to raise their children.

 3.     Four-Day Workweek—Mothers who are physicians are sometimes willing to sign a contract for lower salary if they have three-day weekends. Although it does not usually compensate for the salary lost by the physician, parents save money in childcare only having to have someone watch their children four days a week, and these parents are able to take a much more active role in raising their children.

 4.     On Call Hours—Physicians with families can be less likely to sign a contract that requires many hours spent on call. The more time spent on call, the less time these parents are able to comfortably spend with their children since they are required to stay within a set distance from the hospital and can be asked to leave their family at any given moment.

 5.     Paid Time Off—Family-oriented physicians often want paid time off so they are able to take vacations with their children. If the physician does not live close to his or her family, paid time off is also important to visit family members from out of town.

 6.     Maternity Leave—Mothers, current and future, often discuss maternity leaves with employers while negotiating contracts. Length of maternity leave is a very important consideration for women who plan to have children in the future.

 7.     Proximity of Family—When physicians with families of their own want their parents or extended family to be a part of their children’s lives, they sometimes consider proximity of their family when choosing a facility at which to work.

 8.     Cultural Aspects—Some physicians prefer urban settings and some rural. Within emergency medicine, some want to work at a trauma facility near an interstate highway that will take many car wrecks, and others would prefer a setting that sees more colds than serious trauma injuries. From retirement communities to young family-populated areas, different physicians prefer different patient pools. When a physician is also a parent, the interests of the physician can greatly change.

 9.     Flexibility—When a sick child or state qualification in a sport or event can come up at any moment, parent physicians appreciate flexibility with work schedule. To be an active part of their children’s lives, parents must be able to schedule work around some of their children’s events, so if parent physicians are able to give advanced notice and change their schedule for child-related events, it is often appreciated.

With the number of female physicians still increasing, more and more physicians are taking family into consideration when signing a contract. If the listed considerations are discussed, physicians can negotiate a contract in which their profession is very family-friendly.