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Family, Gender Affect Surgical Residents' Career Plans

These factors play role in general surgery residents' views on specialty, fellowship training

MONDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Marital status, gender and children each appear to have a significant effect on general surgery residents' career-planning decisions, according to research published in the May issue of Archives of Surgery.

Kate V. Viola, M.D., of the Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional national survey of 4,586 general surgery residents after the January 2008 American Board of Surgery Inservice Training Examination. The respondents were from 248 U.S. general surgery residency programs.

The mean age of the respondents was 30.6 years; 51.3 percent were married, 31.7 percent were women and 25.4 percent had children. Men were more likely than women to believe that specialty training is necessary for career success (56.4 percent of men, 52.7 percent of women) and that general surgery is becoming obsolete (30.1 percent of men versus 25.9 percent of women). Residents of either gender who were single or childless were significantly more likely to plan on future fellowship training (59.1 percent single versus 51.9 percent married and 57.0 percent with no children versus 50.1 percent with children). In addition, single or childless female residents had a tendency to identify lifestyle as opposed to income as a motivator for specialty training.

"Ultimately, all trainees seek a pathway in graduate surgical education that will provide the skill set necessary for optimizing patient care, receiving adequate compensation, and achieving a flexible lifestyle within an appropriate time frame. Understanding how these factors influence this large subgroup of physicians is critical to identifying, recruiting, and retaining the best and brightest candidates in graduate surgical education," the authors write.

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