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Archives of Surgery
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 145  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 418 - 424

Impact of Family and Gender on Career Goals: Results of a National Survey of 4586 Surgery Residents

K. V Viola, E Bucholz, H Yeo, C Piper, R. H Bell and J. A. Sosa    

Abstract:

Objective  To determine how marriage, children, and gender influence US categorical general surgery residents' perceptions of their profession and motivations for specialty training.

Design  Cross-sectional national survey administered after the January 2008 American Board of Surgery In-service Training Examination.

Setting  Two hundred forty-eight US general surgery residency programs.

Participants  All US categorical general surgery residents.

Interventions  We evaluated demographic characteristics with respect to survey responses using the 2 test, analysis of variance, and multivariate logistic regression. Interaction terms between variables were assessed.

Main Outcome Measures  Perceptions of respondents regarding the future of general surgery and the role of specialty training in relation to anticipated income and lifestyle.

Results  The survey response rate was 75.0% (4586 respondents). Mean age was 30.6 years; 31.7% were women, 51.3% were married, and 25.4% had children. Of the respondents, 28.7% believed general surgery is becoming obsolete (30.1% of men and 25.9% of women; P = .004), and 55.1% believed specialty training is necessary for success (56.4% of men and 52.7% of women; P = .02). Single residents and residents without children were more likely to plan for fellowship (59.1% single vs 51.9% married, P < .001; 57.0% with no children vs 50.1% with children, P < .001). In our multivariate analyses, male gender was an independent predictor of worry that general surgery is becoming obsolete (P = .003). Female residents who were single or had no children tended to identify lifestyle rather than income as a motivator for specialty training.

Conclusion  Marital status, children, and gender appear to have a powerful effect on general surgery residents' career planning.

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