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Department women explain new ABA leave policy

Emma Swanson, MD, one of the chief residents in the Department of Anesthesia, and Amy Pearson, MD, clinical assistant professor and president of Women in Anesthesiology, recently appeared in a video for the American Board of Anesthesiology's new absence from training policy for anesthesiology residents. The new policy, which took effect July 1, allows for up to 40 days away from training over and above the 60 working days generally allowed, without requiring any extension of the training. This additional leave does require a written request from the Department chair and the residency program director, and the ABA must receive the request within four weeks of the resident's return to the training program.

"Qualifying absences can include childbirth or adoption, a serious health condition, or caring for a family member with a serious health condition," Swanson says. 

"This policy does represent a major shift in medical and family leave during anesthesiology training, but the American Boards of Surgery, Pediatrics, and Internal Medicine have similar policies in place," Pearson says. "It's a step to help promote a balance between training and the residents' other life goals and desires."

Pearson was lead author on a pilot survey of parental and family leave experiences among female anesthesiologists, which found that more than 4 in 10 of the respondents felt work demands interfered with their childbearing plans. More than a quarter of respondents reported that peers, superiors and others at work discouraged them from either becoming pregnant or breastfeeding. Almost 2 percent said they would counsel female students against a career in anesthesiology because of obstacles related to parenthood.

In October 2018, the American Society of Anesthesiologists published a Statement on Personal Leave, saying in part: "A successful career in anesthesiology should allow for the opportunity to respond to personal or familial needs. The ability to take a leave of absence promotes work satisfaction and career longevity, which should contribute to higher quality patient care." The statement also noted that anesthesiologists and anesthesiology trainees are "at high risk for burnout due to workload, long work hours, and cognitive and emotional demands." 

Amy Pearson, MD Amy Pearson, MD  Emma Swanson, MD Emma Swanson, MD


Wednesday, August 28, 2019