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Ann Fam Med. 2016 May;14(3):244-51. doi: 10.1370/afm.1931.

Rural Women Family Physicians: Strategies for Successful Work-Life Balance.

Author information

1
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, Michigan julie.phillips@hc.msu.edu.
2
University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky.
3
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
4
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida.
5
Mount Sinai Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, Chicago, Illinois.
6
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
7
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Women family physicians experience challenges in maintaining work-life balance while practicing in rural communities. We sought to better understand the personal and professional strategies that enable women in rural family medicine to balance work and personal demands and achieve long-term career satisfaction.

METHODS:

Women family physicians practicing in rural communities in the United States were interviewed using a semistructured format. Interviews were recorded, professionally transcribed, and analyzed using an immersion and crystallization approach, followed by detailed coding of emergent themes.

RESULTS:

The 25 participants described a set of strategies that facilitated successful work-life balance. First, they used reduced or flexible work hours to help achieve balance with personal roles. Second, many had supportive relationships with spouses and partners, parents, or other members of the community, which facilitated their ability to be readily available to their patients. Third, participants maintained clear boundaries around their work lives, which helped them to have adequate time for parenting, recreation, and rest.

CONCLUSIONS:

Women family physicians can build successful careers in rural communities, but supportive employers, relationships, and patient approaches provide a foundation for this success. Educators, employers, communities, and policymakers can adapt their practices to help women family physicians thrive in rural communities.

KEYWORDS:

family life; physician workforce; practice-based research; primary care access; rural; women in medicine

PMID:
27184995
PMCID:
PMC4868563
DOI:
10.1370/afm.1931
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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