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Most Female Surgeons Happy With Career Choice

Majority would make the same choice again, despite hurdles to family life

WEDNESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Most women surgeons are happy with their choice of career, but they also value maternity leave, at-work child care and the option of working part time, more than their male counterparts do, according to a study in the July issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Kathrin M. Troppmann, M.D., of the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, and colleagues conducted a national survey of 3,507 board certified surgeons, of whom 895 (25.5 percent) completed a postal questionnaire. There were 178 women (20.3 percent) and 698 men (79.7 percent) who responded.

More of the male than the female surgeons were married (91.7 versus 75.6 percent), and women as well as younger surgeons were less likely to have children, the researchers found. While only 32.0 percent of men were already in surgical practice when they had their first child, 62.4 percent of women were, and they were more likely than their male counterparts to have their first child late in life, the investigators discovered. Male surgeons were less likely than their female counterparts to favor part-time work opportunities for surgeons.

"Women considering a surgical career should be aware that most women surgeons would choose their profession again," the authors write. "Strategies to maximize recruitment and retention of women surgeons should include serious consideration of alternative work schedules and optimization of maternity leave and child care opportunities."

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