New ACC Health Policy Statement Offers Solutions For Career Flexibility in Cardiology

With cardiovascular clinicians working more hours annually than those in many other medical specialties and burnout on the rise, there is growing interest in finding ways to incorporate greater flexibility into all phases of the cardiology career. To that end, ACC's new Health Policy Statement on Career Flexibility in Cardiology, published Oct. 13 in JACC, offers "system, policy and practice solutions" to improve well-being, increase retention and career longevity, and encourage greater diversity, equity and inclusion across the career span.

Highlights from the statement include solutions designed to help both men and women reconcile fellowship training requirements with the demands of parenting and family life, as well as navigate career reentry or redirection. Importantly, the authors note that "cardiologists choosing flexible hours and work commitments should not be penalized unnecessarily in work assignments, promotion, leadership opportunities, compensation, and so on."

"With cardiologists working more hours than many other medical specialties, the goals of this policy statement are to allow both men and women to reconcile training requirements and the demands of practice with parenthood and family life, provide pathways for cardiologists who wish to scale back work hours and restrict or eliminate call responsibilities while continuing to contribute to patient care, research, and education and to meet the specific concerns of cardiologists aiming to transition out of more physically demanding subspecialties," explains Mary Norine Walsh, MD, MACC, chair of the writing committee.

In addition, the statement offers solutions pertaining to accreditation policies within cardiology programs and includes focused strategies for clinicians in the late stages of their careers, and cardiovascular professionals holding leadership positions within industry or health systems. Advice for human resource teams, as well as cardiology leadership, is also provided with the goal of successfully implementing and sustaining these changes.

"By writing this workforce [Health Policy Statement], the ACC highlights the need for our profession to focus attention on flexible careers and to create solutions that promote cardiologists' personal and professional well-being while preserving excellence in clinical care," write Walsh, et al. "The ACC believes this can be accomplished fairly through the prospective development of flexible/part-time hours, leave and re-entry policies, changes in job description supported by overarching cultural change, and equitable compensation and opportunity plans. Only then can we build a well-rounded cardiology workforce that enjoys satisfactory work-life integration."

Access the full Health Policy Statement.

Clinical Topics: Cardiovascular Care Team, Prevention, Stress

Keywords: Cardiologists, Career Mobility, Career Choice, Burnout, Professional, Compensation and Redress, Cultural Diversity, Patient Care Team, Health Workforce, Care Team, Leadership, Parental Leave, Professionalism, Shift Work Schedule, Education, Occupational Stress, Workplace, Job Satisfaction

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