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J Am Coll Surg. 2003 Dec;197(6):1000-11.

Comparison of private versus academic practice for general surgeons: a guide for medical students and residents.

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  • 1Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Medical students and residents often make specialty and practice choices with limited exposure to aspects of professional and personal life in general surgery. The purpose of this study was to portray practice composition, career choices, professional experiences, job satisfaction, and personal life characteristics specific to practicing general surgeons in the United States.

STUDY DESIGN:

A 131-question survey was mailed to all female members (n = 1,076) and a random 2:1 sample of male members (n = 2,152) of the American College of Surgeons in three mailings between September 1998 and March 1999. Respondents who were not actively practicing general surgery in the United States and both trainees and surgeons who did not fit the definition of private or academic practice were excluded. Detailed questions regarding practice attributes, surgical training, professional choices, harassment, malpractice, career satisfaction, and personal life characteristics were included. Separate five-point Likert scales were designed to measure influences on career choices and satisfaction with professional and personal matters. Univariate analyses were used to analyze responses by surgeon age, gender, and practice type.

RESULTS:

A response rate of 57% resulted in 1,532 eligible responses. Significant differences between private and academic practice were noted in case composition, practice structure, and income potential; no major differences were seen in malpractice experience. Propensity for marriage and parenthood differed significantly between men and women surgeons. Overall career satisfaction was very high regardless of practice type. Some differences by surgeon gender in perceptions of equal career advancement opportunities and of professional isolation were noted.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study offers a comprehensive view of general surgery to enable more informed decisions among medical students and residents regarding specialty choice or practice opportunities.

PMID:
14644289
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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