On Sunday, The New York Times published a provocative op-ed arguing that women doctors who cut back to part-time are contributing to the national doctor shortage, and that they have an obligation to work full-time. Now for the backlash, and the debate.
On Monday, we published a powerful, data-driven riposte here, and WBUR's "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook plans to devote its second hour to the topic tomorrow. Today, the Times carries a few more counter-punches in its letters column here.
Excerpts from my personal favorites:
Dr. Sibert claims that "medicine shouldn't be a part-time interest, to be set aside if it becomes inconvenient." I would argue that the same holds true for my child.
I chose to work as part-time doctor early in my career to be supportive to my full-time physician wife. Being asked about my parenting intentions at any point in the process would have been chilling.
And speaking of chilling, here's a comment on our CommonHealth post:
I worked part time when my first child was born and found it to be incredibly unrewarding. I worked a lot of extra unpaid hours and yet when I was introduced (by a man) to the new head of the hospital, he said, "This is Dr. M., she has the cutest one year old you'll ever see." which really wasn't how I defined my role in the hospital! There was no chance of career advancement and it just felt like a huge compromise. When my second child proved to be difficult to care for I happily quit that job and somehow never found a position that didn't feel like another treading water situation. If one more person tells me to review cases for insurance companies, I'll scream--I went to Med School to be able to help people solve problems in a therapeutic relationship, not to do scut work for the rest of my career!
And a post-script: Former Globe reporter Judy Dobrzynski points out on Facebook that Brits were making the same argument against part-time women doctors in 2008 — and in her view, it was "as unconvincing then as it is now."
This program aired on June 15, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.