gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

"Time" as a key factor in the compatibility of career plans and family planning

Abstract medicine

Search Medline for

GMS Z Med Ausbild 2012;29(2):Doc26

doi: 10.3205/zma000796, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0007968

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

Received: March 16, 2011
Revised: May 4, 2011
Accepted: May 23, 2011
Published: April 23, 2012

© 2012 Müller-Schilling.
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.


Both doctors and medical students of either gender today are faced with many demands which appear to make the medical profession less attractive today than previously. The numerous changes and the restructuring of the healthcare system and the increasing economisation of patient care in particular contribute to this view. The challenge today is to ensure patient-centred, world-class patient care, innovative research and teaching and structured education and training at the highest level against the backdrop of increasing output volume (higher life expectancy, multi-morbidity, innovation) and new ethical and legal issues. How can the personal aspects of the physician be reconciled with such requirements?

An important step in increasing the attractiveness of the medical profession and to combat the skills shortage is the definition and establishment of modern, family-friendly working patterns. Specifically by offering structured education and training to junior doctors.


  • The adaptation of the daily work (hospital/research/teaching) to the changing ways of life (“work-life balance”) of the next generation of the medical profession, resulting in an optimisation process in clinical practice.
  • Shifting activities which do not have to be carried out by doctors to trained non-medical personnel.
  • Establishing family-friendly structures, such as flexible work schedules and a motivating work atmosphere.
  • Promotion of a variety of career designs - science/clinic/research with time for research, time for engagement in teaching, time for clinical specialisation, time for the acquisition of management and communication skills, establishing mentoring programs in education and training, ensuring transparency and planability.
  • To increase attractiveness of the medical profession it must be ensured that female doctors progress their career (percentage of female doctors against all doctors in Germany in 1991 was 33.6%; in 2008 41.5%; working in hospital in 2008: 48.1%; the percentage of female medical graduates in 2008 was 58% (Federal Statistical Office), the percentage of female undergraduate students in 2007 was 70%).

Competing interests

The author declares that she has no competing interests.