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Most General Pediatricians Happy with First Job’s Work-Life Balance

ANN ARBOR, MI – With the majority of general pediatricians seeking work-life balance as their primary career goals, most report that they have found it in their first job.

In fact, more than two-thirds believe their current position is consistent with their career goals, according to a study published recently in the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, University of Michigan researchers surveyed 2,327 general pediatricians taking their initial board certification examinations.

PCR for the Vitals

"There are frequent concerns about whether new physicians are being matched with positions that meet their career ambitions, and we found that for pediatricians, the news is quite good," said lead author Gary Freed, MD, MPH, founding director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan Health System and professor of pediatrics at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. "The vast majority, over 80%, of new pediatricians were very satisfied with their first jobs after completing residency and how it matches with their future plans."

The majority, 69%, of the new pediatricians said lifestyle and family considerations were the most important considerations for their first job. While women were most likely to provide that response, it also was endorsed by more than half of men.

At the same time, only 2% of respondents said earning potential was the most important factor in first job selection, and 9% said debt at the end of training was the most important consideration.

"It's important to look at whether first jobs lined up with career goals in order to understand what leads to job and career satisfaction for the new generation of pediatricians and to help us identify future workforce and training needs," Freed explained.

Of the 17% who are not satisfied with how they spend time at work, a common reason was that they would prefer to spend more time in patient care and less on administration tasks. Interestingly, most of the new pediatricians said they wanted to spend most or all of their time providing outpatient care to children with little interest in inpatient care or research.

The survey also found that more women than men plan to work part time at some point in the next five years, although more than 1 in 7 pediatricians who are considered part time in their first job stated they worked more than 40 hours a week.