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Looking for Work/Life Balance

Looking for Work/Life Balance

From our content partners at Physicians Practice   When you love your job, it can be easy for your work/life balance to get out of whack. Here are some lessons I’ve learned so far: Spend time on matters most important to us. Evaluate how much time you put toward the major domains of your life. Rank what matters most to your life (eg, yourself, family, career, and making a difference in the community). Then see how you’re prioritizing your time and where you’d like to spend more time. Find crossover opportunities. Balance doesn’t mean spending the same amount of time on everything. The secret is finding overlap between things you care about. Start small. Continuous improvement is important, but so too is setting yourself up for success. Find little victories to give you the confidence to keep going and branch out into other areas you’d like to improve. Include stakeholders. For lasting change, make sure to involve those who matter most. Let others know about your goals and what you’re doing to achieve them. Finding balance isn’t easy. Realize that you’re not sacrificing one passion to satisfy another. When all of life’s domains collaborate, you can find a work/life balance that works for you.   Find the complete...

Choosing a Medical Specialty & Balancing Life

The following was posted anonymously as a comment on a blog I wrote about the difficulty one has in choosing a medical specialty. I was so taken with it that I wanted to give it more exposure. [Note: The comment contained a few typos, which I have corrected. Otherwise it is unchanged.] My response has been amplified slightly. Since you are so senior to me, let me ask you for your thoughts. I got into medical school, studied, worked hard, got into residency and learned, spent hours and hours in the hospital, loved critical care and got into fellowship. Along the way met a guy (both were residents at that time), fell in love, and we both dreamt and read and learned and discussed cases. He decided on cardiology and I decided on critical care. Both got into fellowships …. worked hard, spent long hours in fellowship … we were committed. We ARE committed but divided…. We had kids, and now every day I feel divided. I have a feeling that all “old timers ” like you who worked for longer hours and did frequent night calls had a ” spouse” who would take care of your kids, and you did not have to worry as much. Times were different. Times were not so dangerous, and kids’ safety outside of the house was not so concerning. In my situation, my spouse and I are both physicians in fields that require us to spend lots and lots of hours in the hospital. If I were to find a traditional practice and work every 3rd night, who would raise my kids?...

Examining Attitudes Toward Pregnancy & Childbearing in Women Surgeons

The number of women applicants to medical school has increased steadily over the past few decades, rising to 50.8% of all American medical school applicants in 2003 to 2004. Despite this increase, women have historically been underrepresented across some medical fields when compared with men. Studies indicate that academic faculty women comprise a large percentage of primary care specialties, but only about 15% of faculty in general surgery are women. Data from 2008 demonstrated that women represented just 32.3% of residents in general surgery. While the number of women medical students pursuing a career in surgery has increased steadily since 1997, there are still disproportionately fewer women than men pursuing general surgery and surgical subspecialties. “Many factors may deter women from careers in surgery,” explains Patricia L. Turner, MD, FACS. “One potential concern is accommodating pregnancy and childbirth during training and practice. That’s because medical school and training typically occurs during the years when women are most fertile. The demands associated with the longer length of training in surgery and persistent negative attitudes toward pregnancy from colleagues may dissuade students from choosing surgery as a career.” Taking a Deeper Look at Surgeons & Pregnancy To further explore female surgeon experiences relating to childbirth and pregnancy, Dr. Turner and colleagues conducted a survey of women general surgeons in training and in practice that was published in the February 20, 2012 Archives of Surgery. The survey questionnaire aimed to provide descriptive data on the timing of pregnancy and perceptions of stigma. Data were collected according to the date of medical school graduation for respondents: 0 to 9 years since graduation. 10...

Non-Compliance High With Work-Hour Regulations

Non-compliance with work-hour regulations appears to be prevalent among surgical residents, according to survey findings from a Mount Sinai School of Medicine study. Non-compliance with the work-hour regulations was 64.6%, with 21.1% of residents working more than 90 hours per week. Investigators noted that education and continuity in patient care were the main reasons associated with...

Balancing Life With a Career in Surgery

Graduate surgical education has changed significantly during the past 20 years. Several events have changed the landscape considerably, including the elimination of the pyramidal training system in 1983, the institution of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies in 1999, and the 80-hour work week mandate in 2003. As a result, there have been many new fast-track residencies and a rapid increase in the number of specialty fellowships, especially in minimally invasive surgery. These changes reflect a growing interest in tailoring traditional general surgery to the desire of residents who want to obtain specialty training. This has created a generation gap between current trainees and experienced surgeons in practice. In addition, specialization has emerged as a growing trend that might jeopardize the future of general surgery. According to published research, many factors play a role, including the changing demographics of medical schools and surgery residency programs, residency types, and early exposure through research that is performed during residency. “Gender-related studies on specialty training have historically focused on increasing the female surgeon pool,” says Julie Ann Sosa, MD, MA. “These studies highlight issues surrounding maternity leave, child care, female faculty role models, and shorter training programs. Unfortunately, there’s a paucity of research addressing the influence of external support systems, such as family, on surgical trainees’ plans to specialize during or after their residencies.” New Survey Highlights In the May 2010 Archives of Surgery, Dr. Sosa and colleagues conducted a nationwide survey of all categorical general surgery residents in the United States to identify factors that motivate residents to specialize. “More specifically, we examined the influences of marriage, family,...
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