Several recent articles in this journal, including the article by Linzer and colleagues in this issue, discuss and promote the concept of part-time careers in academic medicine as a solution to the need to achieve a work-life balance and to address the changing demographics of academic medicine. The article by Linzer and colleagues presents the consensus of a task force that attempted to address practical considerations for part-time work in academic internal medicine. Missing from these discussions, however, are a consensus on the definition of part-time work, consideration of how such strategies would be available to single parents, how time or resources will be allocated to part-time faculty to participate in professional associations, develop professional networks, and maintain currency in their field, and how part-time work can allow for the development of expertise in research and scholarly activity. Most important, the discussions about the part-time solution do not address the root cause of dissatisfaction and attrition: the ever-increasing and unsustainable workload of full-time faculty. The realization that an academic full-time career requires a commitment of 80 hours per week begs the question of whether part-time faculty would agree to work 40 hours a week for part-time pay. The historical underpinnings of the current situation, the implications of part-time solutions for the academy, and the consequences of choosing part-time work as the primary solution are discussed. Alternative strategies for addressing some of the problems facing full-time faculty are proposed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas