Are female surgeons happier than their male counterparts?

The answer appears to be yes.

MedPage Today reports a study suggesting that, “Most women surgeons would make the same career choice again if given the option,” and, “women were somewhat more likely than men to say they would choose the surgical profession again.”

What’s notable is the general high satisfaction rate among surgeons, as “most surgeons of both sexes would recommend their profession to others, indirectly suggesting a high rate of professional satisfaction and fulfillment.” That’s something unheard of in primary care.

But, like their primary care counterparts, women reported that they were more likely to prefer alternative schedule options as they prioritized more part-time and shift-based schedules.

General surgery is often described as the “primary care” of specialists, as more students are gravitating towards surgical subspecialties. Although the situation isn’t as bad as primary care, yet, leaders in the field best pay attention to these trends that will surely affect surgeon retention in the future.

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  • alex

    “The answer appears to be yes”?

    “women were somewhat more likely than men to say they would choose the surgical profession again (82.5% versus 77.5%, P=0.15),”

    I hope this isn’t the level of statistical analysis you apply when reviewing papers for deciding how to practice.

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  • Primary Care Internist

    the question and answer can easily be restated as :

    “part-time workers are happier than full-time workers”, big freakin’ shocker.

    I don’t think I can name a single female med school colleague who works full time. In fact, most don’t work at all, being married to breadwinners in law, medicine, and finance.

    If there’s to be a real discussion of physician shortages, med schools need to address that, however uncomfortable it makes committees to openly address. The issue is the same regarding older “second-career” students.

    I once had an academic research MD/PhD (“mudd-fudd”) extoll the virtues of his med school admissions committee (major academic center in the Bronx, NY) decision to admit a mother & daughter. When I pointed out the physician shortage projection issue, he looked at me like i just screamed an expletive in a crowded room.

  • Whitny

    Primary Care Internist brings up an interesting (if uncomfortable) possibility which he then fails to support with anything other than anecdotes from his medical school. I’d like to know what percentage of the physician shortage is actually attributable to women working part-time and “second-career” students being so damn old and useless. PCI, have you considered that women may prefer to work “part-time” during their early childbearing years but return to full time work later? Do the gifts that second-career students bring to medicine make up for the fact that their career in medicine will be shorter than some clueless 21 year old dude with an undergraduate degree in chemistry? Should diversity and equality be sacraficed for their unknown (probably small to zero) contribution to the physcian shortage? Your argument is like me saying that all the doctors I’ve met who have ditched medical practice completely MID-CAREER for more lucrative opportunities are male, so, you know, thanks to all you men causing the physician shortage.

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