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    Urology work force faces gender pay gap, shortage

    Angela B. Smith, MD, MSAngela B. Smith, MD, MSMultiple recent studies point to a shortage in the urologist work force. In addition, while the number of women entering the field is growing, their compensation is not commensurate with that of their male colleagues. In this interview, Angela B. Smith, MD, MS, discusses two work force problems in urology, discrepancies in male and female urologist compensation, and solutions for these issues. Dr. Smith is assistant professor of urology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She was interviewed by Urology Times Editorial Consultant Stephen Y. Nakada, MD, the Uehling Professor and founding chairman of urology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

     

    Is there a work force problem in urology?

    Yes, there are two problems. The first problem is that the supply of urologists has not kept pace with population growth—something that may be exacerbated by an aging urology work force. The second problem is the declining number of urologists practicing in rural settings. More than half of counties in the United States are without a urology provider, and rural urologists are less satisfied and less likely to choose medicine again, according to a recent work force study. The lack of rural urologists is likely to worsen since young urologists are more likely to work in urban and suburban areas. This is a clear gap highlighted in the AUA Annual Census.

     

    Is the fact that not all urologists work full time an issue?

    I don’t see this as an issue if we are smart about maximizing our current work force potential. It’s true that in the last decade, there has been more of an emphasis on quality of life compared to hours worked—both among men and women. A recent study found that less than 20% of the female urology work force work part time, and over 70% work more than 50 hours a week (Urology 2016; 91:1-5), and the AUA Census reported equal median work hours of 55 for both men and women. Looking at this singularly, less work hours could translate to expedited work force shortages. However, fostering an environment that allows for part-time work may increase overall job satisfaction. An increase in job satisfaction, especially in an era of serious physician burnout, will be vital for maintaining our work force. Part-time physicians can be a vital addition to addressing workforce shortages—filling in much-needed gaps in care, especially in rural settings.

    Next: "We found that women were being compensated by about $76,000 less than male urologists."

    Stephen Y. Nakada, MD
    Stephen Y. Nakada, MD, a Urology Times editorial consultant, is professor and chairman of urology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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