Gender disparities among young surgeons during transition into practice: A nationwide survey
Priyanka V. Chugh, MD1,2, Katherine He, MD1,3, Allan Stolarski, MD1,2, Edward Whang, MD, FACS1,3, Gentian Kristo, MD, MPH, FACS1,3
1Department of Surgery, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA 2Department of Surgery, Boston Medical Center, Boston University Medical School, Boston, MA, USA 3Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Background: While the number of women in surgery is increasing, female surgeons continue to face unique professional challenges. However, research to date has not investigated gender-specific experiences during transition from training into the workforce. Our study was designed to examine the gender-related differences during the transition into practice. Methods: A survey consisting of 18 questions (10 multiple-choice; 5 open-ended; 3 yes/no) was developed and validated after interviews and focus-groups with young surgeons. This survey was mailed in August 2019 to surgeons that became members of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) within the last 5 years.
Results: 853 surveys were completed. Female surgeons, when compared to their male counterparts, report inadequate institutional support during their transition into practice (51.2% vs 41.6%; p < 0.05) and an inadequate overall transitioning experience (38.0% vs 21.7%; p< 0.05). The number of female surgeons receiving mentorship on their first job was significantly lower than males (66.7% vs 74.6%; p < 0.05), despite being more willing to have a retired surgeon as a mentor (54.3% vs 36.5%; p < 0.05). The number of female surgeons leaving their first job was significantly higher than males (48.2% vs 41.8% respectively; P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that new female surgeons feel left behind during the transition into practice. When compared to male surgeons, they report having a worse experience, and receiving less institutional support and mentoring during the transition into practice. Recognizing these gender disparities can help design successful strategies to improve the transition into practice for all surgeons.
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