Back to Journals » Advances in Medical Education and Practice » Volume 9

The pregnant female surgical resident

Authors Shifflette V, Hambright S, Amos JD, Dunn E, Allo M

Received 29 April 2017

Accepted for publication 15 November 2017

Published 14 May 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 365—369


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Azim Majumder

Vanessa Shifflette,1 Susannah Hambright,2 Joseph Darryl Amos,1 Ernest Dunn,3 Maria Allo4

1Associates in Surgical Acute Care, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA; 2Methodist Surgical Associates, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA; 3Graduate Medical Education - General Surgery, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA; 4Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, CA, USA

Background: Surgery continues to be an intense, time-consuming residency. Many medical students decide against surgery as a profession due to the long work hours and family strain. The pregnant female surgical resident has an added stress factor compared to her male counterpart.
Methods: We distributed an electronic, online 26-question survey to 32 general surgery programs in the southwestern region of the United States. Each program distributed our survey to the female surgical residents who had been pregnant during residency in the last 5 years. Each program was re-contacted 6 weeks after the initial contact. Most questions were in a 5-point Likert scale format. The responses were collected and analyzed using the Survey Monkey website.
Results: An unvalidated survey was sent to 32 general surgery programs and 26 programs responded (81%). Each program was asked for the total number of possible responses from female residents that met our criteria (60 female residents). Seven of the programs (27%) stated that they have had zero residents pregnant. We had 22 residents respond (37%). Over half of the residents (55%) were pregnant during their 2nd or 3rd year of residency, with only 18% pregnant during a research year. Thirty-one percent had a lower American Board of Surgery In-Training Exam (ABSITE) score. Ninety percent of the residents were able to take 4 weeks or more for maternity leave. Most of the residents (95%) stated that they would do this again during residency given the opportunity, but many of the residents felt that returning back to work with a child at home was the most difficult part.
Conclusion: Our preliminary study shows that the programs surveyed were accommodating to the female surgical resident. Nevertheless, despite adequate support from their program and an overall positive experience, many residents indicated that they had a decline in their education and performance.

Keywords: surgical resident, pregnant, medical education, maternity leave, graduate medical education

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]