Of the survey respondents who were physicians, 9.1 percent had taken time off from their residency for reasons other than doing medical research. The authors suggest that even though not all residents would be interested in part-time training options, such programs could greatly benefit those who desire flexibility for personal, financial or health reasons. "Flexible options should be available for those who need it who might otherwise feel unable to pursue or continue in a surgical career," they write. "For example, the availability of protected time off could permit a surgeon in training to tend to a personal crisis or a family emergency, whereas, without this option, he or she may have to resign from a program with no guarantee of being able to finish training."
Although women were more likely than men to express interest in flexible options, lifestyle issues are not solely woman- or family-related, the authors continue. "In light of recent concerns about decreasing applications to general surgery training programs and a need to appeal to students with greater interest in controllable lifestyle careers, a more flexible approach to surgical training could boost interest and improve applicant caliber," they write. "Because the upcoming generation is less willing than previous ones to sacrifice quality of life, academic medicine will lose both women and men if greater work balance is not achievable."
Contact: Mary Jane Gore
JAMA and Archives Journals