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J Am Coll Surg. 2016 Jun;222(6):1090-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2015.12.004. Epub 2015 Dec 18.

Pregnancy and Parenthood among Surgery Residents: Results of the First Nationwide Survey of General Surgery Residency Program Directors.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.
2
Department of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Electronic address: peter.yoo@yale.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although family and lifestyle are known to be important factors for medical students choosing a specialty, there is a lack of research about general surgery residency program policies regarding pregnancy and parenthood. Similarly, little is known about program director attitudes about these issues.

STUDY DESIGN:

We performed a cross-sectional survey of United States (US) general surgery residency program directors.

RESULTS:

Sixty-six respondents completed the survey: 70% male, 59% from university-based programs, and 76% between 40 and 59 years of age. Two-thirds (67%) reported having a maternity leave policy. Less than half (48%) reported having a leave policy for the non-childbearing parent (paternity leave). Leave duration was most frequently reported as 6 weeks for maternity leave (58%) and 1 week for paternity leave (45%). Thirty-eight percent of general surgery residency program directors (PDs) reported availability of on-site childcare, 58% reported availability of lactation facilities. Forty-six percent of university PDs said that the research years are the best time to have a child during residency; 52% of independent PDs said that no particular time during residency is best. Sixty-one percent of PDs reported that becoming a parent negatively affects female trainees' work, including placing an increased burden on fellow residents (33%). Respondents perceived children as decreasing female trainees' well-being more often than male trainees' (32% vs 9%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Program director reports indicated a lack of national uniformity in surgical residency policies regarding parental leave, length of leave, as well as inconsistency in access to childcare and availability of spaces to express and store breast milk. Program directors perceived parenthood to affect the training and well-being of female residents more adversely than that of male residents.

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