Pregnancy and parental leave among plastic surgery residents in Canada: a nationwide survey of attitudes and experiences

Pregnancy and parental leave among plastic surgery residents in Canada: a nationwide survey of attitudes and experiences

Can J Surg 2020;63(5):E454-E459 | Full Text |PDF

Haley Augustine, MD, MScOT; Syed Ali Rizvi, MD; Emily Dunn, MKin; Jessica Murphy, MSc; Helene Retrouvey, MD, MSc; Johnny Ionut Efanov, MD; Anna Steve, MD; Becher Alhalabi, MD, MHPE; Ronen Avram, MD, MSc; Sophocles Voineskos, MD, MSc

Summary

Small surgical residency programs like plastic surgery can be challenging environments to accommodate parental leave. This study aimed to report the experiences, attitudes and perceived support of Canadian plastic surgery residents, recent graduates and staff surgeons with respect to pregnancy and parenting during training. Residents and staff surgeons were invited via email to participate in an online survey. The results presented here explore experiences of pregnancy and parental leave of current plastic surgery residents and staff surgeons. Residents’ and staff surgeons’ perceptions of program director support, policies, negative comments and the impact of parental leave on the workload of others were also explored. Although the findings suggest that there may be improvements in the support of program directors, there continues to be a negative attitude in surgical culture toward pregnancy during residency. The perceived confusion of respondents with respect to programspecific policies emphasizes the need for open conversations and standardization of parental leave.


Accepted Dec. 5, 2019

Acknowledgements: The authors thank Drs. Annie Wang, Mona Al-Taha and Mike Stein, and members of the Canadian Plastic Surgery Research Collaborative, for helping to distribute the survey and collect the results.

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont. (Augustine, Rizvi, Dunn, Murphy, Avram, Voineskos); the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Montreal, Montreal, Que. (Retrouvey, Efanov); the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, Que. (Alhalabi); the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. (Retrouvey); the Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alta. (Steve).

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this article and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.004919

Correspondence to: H. Augustine, McMaster Children’s Hospital, McMaster University, 1280 Main St W, Hamilton ON L8N 3Z5, haley.augustine@gmail.com