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Open Access Short Report

In search of work/life balance: trainee perspectives on part-time obstetrics and gynaecology specialist training

Amanda Henry1*, Sarah Clements2, Ashley Kingston1 and Jason Abbott1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

2 Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney, Australia

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:19  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-19

Published: 10 January 2012



Part-time training (PTT) is accessed by approximately 10% of Australian obstetrics and gynaecology trainees, a small but increasing minority which reflects the growing demand for improved work/life balance amongst the Australian medical workforce. This survey reports the attitudes and experiences of both full-time and part-time trainees to PTT.


An email-based anonymous survey was sent to all Australian obstetrics and gynaecology trainees in April 2009, collecting demographic and training status data, data on personal experiences of PTT and/or trainees, and attitudes towards PTT.


105 responses were received (20% response rate). These indicated strong support (90%) from both full-time (FT) and part-time (PT) trainees for the availability of PTT. PT trainees were significantly more likely than FT trainees to be female with children. Improved morale was seen as a particular advantage of PTT; decreased continuity of care as a disadvantage.


Although limited by poor response rate, both PT and FT Australian obstetric trainees were supportive of part-time training. Both groups recognised important advantages and disadvantages of this mode of training. Currently, part-time training is accessed primarily by female trainees with family responsibilities, with many more trainees considering part-time training than the number that access it.

Education; Medical; Graduate; Personnel staffing and scheduling; Physicians; Women; Inservice training