Female healthcare workers are scaling back, here's why 

Shouldering the burden of household duties, spending more time on patients and an inability to disconnect from work may all be reasons female physicians are reducing their hours or quitting altogether, according to a Jan. 19 Harvard Business Review report. 

According to research conducted by Press Ganey that collected more than 200,000 responses to physician surveys, female physicians tend to spend more time per patient than their male counterparts while also spending more time documenting cases in EHR systems. This is on top of nonprofessional responsibilities that disproportionately fall to women. One study found that during the pandemic, female physicians have been more likely to be responsible for childcare, schooling and household tasks than male physicians.

Data shows that during medical internships, rates of depression for both men and women increase, but for women the effect is greater, and female physicians have higher burnout rates than men. When physicians were asked how well they can decompress and disconnect from work, female physicians reported lesser ability to distance their minds from work when at home, increasing their stress. 

Although male and female physicians responded that they find similar amounts of meaning in their work, women may not find ways to leave work behind and recover in the same way as men, the report said. 

To counteract the trend of female physicians scaling back their jobs, health systems can focus on increasing job flexibility, centering respect for all in their organization values and ensuring there are equitable opportunities for advancement and pay, according to the report.

Read the full report here.

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