Nevin Manimala Statistics

Parent Penalty: Parental Leave Experiences of Trainees and Early-Career Faculty in Oncology Subspecialties

JCO Oncol Pract. 2023 Sep 14:OP2300242. doi: 10.1200/OP.23.00242. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Prime childbearing years occur during medical training and early career, leaving physicians with tough choices between family planning and career growth. Restrictive workplace parental leave (PL) policies may negatively affect physician well-being. We evaluate existing PL and lactation policies, as well as return-to-work experiences, among oncology trainees and early-career faculty.

METHODS: An anonymous 43-question cross-sectional survey was distributed via e-mail and social media channels between May and June 2021 to oncology trainees and physicians within 5 years of terminal training in the United States. The survey was administered through SurveyMonkey. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Two hundred seventy-five participants were recruited via social media and outreach to program directors and coordinators in adult hematology/oncology and radiation oncology program directors.

RESULTS: The average duration of PL was <6 weeks for most participants. Among those who used PL, 50% felt pressured to work while on PL, 60% felt guilty asking coworkers for help, and 79% were overwhelmed with demands of work and home, whereas only 27% had resources available at workplace to assist with transition back to work. Among those who breastfed at return to work, 31% did not have access to a lactation room, 56% did not have adequate pumping breaks, and 66% did not have pumping breaks mandated in contract.

CONCLUSION: Our findings underline the immense magnitude of problems surrounding inadequate PL and support for lactating mothers among trainees and early-career physicians in oncology subspecialities. Policies and practices around PL and lactation should be restructured to meet the needs of the evolving oncology workforce.

PMID:37708434 | DOI:10.1200/OP.23.00242

By Nevin Manimala

Portfolio Website for Nevin Manimala