Given physicians’ long hours, which don’t always coincide with the business day, these centers should have extended hours and flexible scheduling, said Jennifer A. Villwock, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.
Explore This IssueJanuary 2020
For institutions that don’t have onsite daycare, Dr. Wei recommends partnering with the private sector or promoting it as an area of philanthropy in order to have a center created.
#3. Lactation Rooms
An organization’s culture should support interruptions in a clinic schedule to allow for pumping, Dr. Wei said. An adequate number of lactation rooms should be based upon the number of female faculty.
“In a large hospital complex, lactation rooms should exist in multiple wings or buildings so they’re easily accessible,” Dr. Villwock said.
Clinic or operating room schedules should be adjusted to accommodate a new mother’s needs. As it stands, extra time taken off during the workday detracts from physicians’ productivity. In a fee-for-service/relative value unit (RVU)-only model, this results in financial penalties or more time spent working on the back end, Dr. Villwock said.
Dr. O’Brien is a proponent of allowing both parents to take time off to attend doctor’s visits for their children or care for them at home. They should also have the ability to work part-time when their children are young, with the option to return to full-time employment. She also supports the eligibility of women who are working part time for leadership roles.
Dr. Wei recommends allowing women faculty to have flexible work schedules that enable them to fulfill agreed-upon productivity goals, such as starting work later in the morning and ending their day later.
Women physicians’ wish lists also include more toilets for women and insurance coverage for maternity leave.
“It’s time that we start to acknowledge, embrace, and leverage separate realities based on gender and provide different accommodations that support the best professional career development for female physicians,” Dr. Wei said.