gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

A. Bühren, A.E. Schöller (Hrsg.): Familienfreundlicher Arbeitsplatz für Ärztinnen und Ärzte – Lebensqualität in der Berufsausübung

book report medicine

Search Medline for

  • corresponding author Kathrin Klimke-Jung - Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Medizinische Fakultät, Zentrum für Medizinische Lehre, Bochum, Deutschland

GMS Z Med Ausbild 2012;29(1):Doc04

doi: 10.3205/zma000774, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0007745

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Received: October 20, 2011
Revised: October 22, 2011
Accepted: November 4, 2011
Published: February 15, 2012

© 2012 Klimke-Jung.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.

Bibliographical details

A. Bühren, A.E. Schöller (ed.)

Familienfreundlicher Arbeitsplatz für Ärztinnen und Ärzte – Lebensqualität in der Berufsausübung

Bundesärztekammer, Berlin

year of publication: 2010, 138 pages

available from:


“Tempora mutantur, … “ - the Federal Chamber of Physicians on its position on family-friendliness in the medical profession and daily life in medical education

While medical careers still follow the classic male biography blueprint, the increasing number of women in medical schools and in the medical profession as well as a shortage of qualified doctors in medical care in general have caused a change: family-friendliness and the claim for better ways of reconciling work and family life are no longer being regarded as minor “women’s issues” but are becoming the hallmark of prudent personnel policy in the health sector. Employers and supervisors can no longer indulge in male chauvinist attitudes, asking female applicants routinely about their family plans or, worse still, the number of their under age children, thus making it very clear that they would rather not employ doctors entangled in family commitments.

Tempora mutantur- times are changing: it is no longer a question of how the individual doctor organizes his or her family-life but what measures employers put in place to enable their staff to balance their career and family life. Family-friendliness is arriving in the health service sector.

In 2002 the105th German Medical Assembly called for “a framework, created according to the ideas of gender mainstreaming, that gives qualified doctors the chance to embark on a career path and continue with it, to develop their professional skills and to contribute their knowledge both at the management level and in bodies dealing with employment policies.” (Decision Protocol III, 1) By publishing this work of A. Bühren and A.E. Schoeller, the Federal Medical Council takes account of this demand.

The editors illustrate how a family-friendly environment can be created in hospitals, universities and outpatient health care, using many examples of good practice. Unfortunately their focus lies predominantly on the western provinces of Germany, thus neglecting the eastern part of Germany with its profoundly different tradition of coordinating work and family life for women. Furthermore the editors leave out the very interesting endeavour to look at the national policy of institutionalized childcare in the health care sector of the former German democratic republic from a historical point of view.

But the small booklet does not limit itself to the description of successful and gender-sensitive work policies and checklists. The editors make it very clear that family- friendliness has to be understood as part of a corporate culture and must therefore be implemented structurally in all relevant institutions: family-friendliness should be valued as an appreciation of both the professional work and the human factor in healthcare and medical education.

If one ignores the fact that the illustrations of this glossy publication largely focus on stereotypes of happy mother-child harmony and that it sidesteps both fathers and the very real fatigue which the balancing act between family and career entails in spite of everything, the booklet is readable and highly recommendable to all those who wish to promote more family-friendliness in their own workplace.

Competing interests

The author declares that she has no competing interests.