Physicians rank residency work-life balance by specialty

Lyndra Vassar , News Writer

Ever wonder how busy you are compared to your peers in other specialties? A new ranking using more than 90,000 physician comments may provide some insight. Here’s a peer-ranked list of the best—and worst—specialties for work-life balance in training. 

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Physician network Doximity and U.S. News & World Report analyzed more than “94,000 anonymized ratings and hand-written reviews on important aspects of their residency experience, such as career guidance, schedule flexibility for pregnancy and other life events, program culture and clinical diversity,” according to the network.

To capture information on work-life balance in different specialties, Doximity asked physicians to rate residency programs based on “work hours: tolerability of shift and call schedules” and “schedule flexibility: accommodation for weddings, pregnancy, deaths, etc.”

Respondents gave these specialties the highest average rating for work hours and schedule flexibility:

1. Physical medicine and rehabilitation

2. Dermatology

3. Radiation oncology

4. Orthopedic surgery

5. Emergency medicine

On the other end of the spectrum, anesthesiology, neurology and OB-GYN rounded out the list as the lowest-ranking specialties for these work-life balance factors.

Even after residency, physicians in different fields—such as PM&R, radiology and orthopedic surgery—often note differences in their quality of life, based on their practice type and specialty. If you haven’t checked out AMA Wire’s® “Shadow Me” Specialty Series featuring firsthand accounts from physicians about life in their specialties, take a look at these physician profiles for further physician perspectives about their specialties.

Tell us: Do you think there are certain program factors that may explain or justify these ratings? Do you agree with this evaluation of work-life balance? Share your thoughts on the AMA’s Residents and Fellows Facebook page or in the comments below.