Objective: To examine the current availability of job-sharing in paediatric training hospitals in Australia and to evaluate job-sharing from the trainees' perspective.
Design: National survey with structured telephone interviews and postal questionnai res.
Setting: The eight major paediatric training hospitals in Australia.
Participants: Directors of Paediatric Physician Training (DPPTs) at each hospital (or a staff member nominated by them) provided information by phone interview regarding job-sharing. All paediatric trainees who job-shared in 1998 (n=34) were sent written questionnaires, of which 25 were returned.
Results: Hospitals differed in terms of whether a trainee was required to give a reason for wishing to job-share, and what reasons were acceptable. One hospital stated that two specialty units (Intensive Care and Neonatal Intensive Care) were excluded from job-sharing, and another stated that certain units were unlikely to be allocated job-sharers. The remaining six hospitals said that all units were available for job-sharing, but the majority of their trainees disagreed. Only one hospital had a cap on the number of job-share positions available yearly. Trainees perceived benefits of job-sharing to include decreased tiredness, increased enthusiasm for work, and the ability to strike a balance between training and other aspects of life. Trainees believed job-sharing did not adversely affect the quality of service provided to patients, and that part-time training was not of lower quality than full-time training.
Conclusions: Job-sharing in Australian paediatric training hospitals varies in terms of the number of positions available, eligibility criteria, and which units are available for job-sharing. In our survey, trainees' experience of job-sharing was overwhelmingly positive.