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Finding the right way

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 09 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:694
  1. Margaret Price

    In Isobel Allen's report Doctors and Their Careers: A New Generation, 76% of women doctors and 58% of male doctors said that they had regretted their decision to become doctors at some point in their career. There is obviously an urgent need to develop more realistic career pathways and better career advice, particularly for women. It is economically unsound and cruel to educate people to a high level without thinking through realistic patterns of employment. Consideration should be given to three possible career pathways: the classic steady rise through the ranks with the attainment of current higher degrees, including research degrees; the same progression but with a plateau in the late 20s and early 30s, during which work is less than full time and thus senior status is reached at a later age; and, finally, a less demanding but worthwhile option producing a clinically competent doctor, a valuable member of the team who does not have the extra burden of research and management.

    For most men and women without children the current career progression in medicine is appropriate. For some doctors who become mothers and who have excellent domestic support, the conventional career pattern may also be suitable, although problems such as geographical instability in the early years still need addressing. For many, however, the dual …

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