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A look at paid time off

Vacation time for hospitalists is all over the map

Keywords: Physicians report on their vacation time

Published in the June 2012 issue of Today's Hospitalist

IN A SHIFT-CENTRIC SPECIALTY LIKE HOSPITAL MEDICINE, the issue of paid time off can be sticky. Should hospitalists who work seven-on/seven-off schedules, for example, receive paid time off in addition to the 26 weeks a year they’re not working? Or should they use the blocks of time they already have off for vacation and personal business?

According to the 2011 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, there is little agreement about the gold standard for paid time off. While half of hospitalists say they receive paid time off, the other half say that they cobble together vacations and other personal activities from their regularly scheduled days off. Here’s a look at hospitalists who are getting paid time off, and how much time they’re receiving.

How much time off
While 50% of hospitalists say they receive paid time off, the number of days they have off is all over the map. Just under 4% report that they get one week, while 11% say they receive two weeks and 14% receive three weeks. Interestingly, 21% of hospitalists who have paid time off—or about 10% of all hospitalists—report getting more than three weeks off a year.

Here are some of the other factors that make a difference in terms of how much paid time off hospitalists receive:

  • Type of patients treated. Significantly more pediatric hospitalists (61%) say they receive paid time off than adult hospitalists (47%).

  • Type of employer. Look at the numbers for who hospitalists work for, and you see a dramatic difference in terms of paid time off. Hospitalists who work for universities/medical schools are most likely to receive paid time off (75%), while those who work for national management companies are the least (25%).

  • Gender. While 57% of female hospitalists receive some paid time off, only 46% of male hospitalists do.

  • Shifts worked. The more shifts hospitalists work per month, the more likely they are to receive paid time off. Of hospitalists who work more than 20 shifts a month, for example, 58% receive paid time off. For hospitalists working only 10 to 15 shifts a month, by comparison, 47% receive paid time off.

    Want more data about hospitalist pay, work hours and more? Go to the 2011 survey results online at and look for the “Survey Results” button on the left side of the page.

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