Bottom Line: This study used data from an online survey of about 1,700 physician mothers to examine how responsibilities at home are associated with career dissatisfaction and whether that differs by specialty. Nearly all of the physician mothers were partnered or married and 27 percent were in procedural specialties (defined as all surgical specialties, anesthesiologists, gastroenterologists and obstetricians-gynecologists). Overall, physician mothers reported being responsible for most tasks at home compared with their spouses/partners, including child care, cooking, laundry and grocery shopping. Physician mothers in procedural specialties who reported being primarily responsible for five or more tasks at home more often reported career dissatisfaction as a desire to change careers than those with fewer than five household tasks. This association wasn't observed among physician mothers in nonprocedural specialties. These data come from a voluntary membership group (the Physicians Mom Group on Facebook) and may not be representative of all physician mothers. Study authors suggest a more equitable distribution of household tasks among physician mothers and their spouses/partners or outsourcing these duties might help to sustain physician mothers in practice.
Author: Nelya Melnitchouk, M.D., M.Sc., Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and coauthors
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