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Family, Lifestyle Key Factors in Surgical Career Choice

Family and lifestyle play important roles in career choices for male and female medical students

TUESDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Although female medical students are more likely than their male counterparts to report that raising a family is a priority, both men and women cite lifestyle and family as important factors in the decision to choose a surgical career, according to a paper in the November issue of Archives of Surgery.

Hilary A. Sanfey, M.B.B.Ch., of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues conducted a Web-based survey of 1,300 medical students (680 men and 620 women) about surgical career choice questions that included the quality of surgical lifestyle and residency, equity and family.

More men than women thought surgeons led balanced lives. Thirty-five percent of women cited a lack of role models as a deterrent to choosing the specialty. When compared to those unlikely to enter surgery, fewer men and women likely to study surgery agreed that the desire to have a family influenced career decisions. For those who thought their skills compatible with surgical careers, similar percentages were likely (30 percent men and 24 percent women) and not likely (49 percent men and 54 percent women) to study surgery.

"The decision to have a family was a more significant influence for women than men, but family and lifestyle priorities were also important to male students, supporting our hypothesis that generation and gender are both important influences on career choices," the authors conclude.

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