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Why Do Women Choose to Enter Academic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

Kolokythas, Antonia; Miloro, Michael.
J Oral Maxillofac Surg; 74(5): 881-8, 2016 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26851313

PURPOSE:

To determine why women choose to enter an academic career in oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS). MATERIALS AND

METHODS:

An online questionnaire was developed and e-mailed to female OMS surgeons to assess the reasons women choose to pursue an academic career, the perceived positive and negative features of academia for women, and proposed measures to increase the percentage of women choosing to specialize in OMS and pursue an academic career.

RESULTS:

Thirty-one female OMS surgeons completed the questionnaire; 1 additional participant accessed the survey but did not respond to any of the questions. There were 25 full-time academics and 6 part-time academics (≥50% time commitment). Of the responders, 72% were married, and of these, 72% were married before entering academics. Forty-seven percent of the women had children, all during their academic tenure. Among the full-time academicians with children, only 2 (7.7%) reported moderate difficulty finding the time for childbirth and maternity leave, whereas 3 of the 5 part-time academics with children reported moderate or significant difficulty with childbirth and maternity leave. Factors associated with choosing and enjoying an academic career are involvement in resident-student teaching (78%), followed by colleague camaraderie and collaboration (65.6%), research potential (50%), time flexibility, and not having to deal with excessive "business" practice issues (33%). The main reason for considering leaving an academic OMS career and/or among the least enjoyable aspects of being in academics was the potential for a higher income in private practice (56%). Less significant reasons for considering leaving an academic OMS career were a more flexible work schedule in the private sector and less institutional red tape (37.5%), as well as independence/being in control and more family time (22%). Engaging residents and students by female OMS surgeons, better mentorship from academic OMS surgeons, and increasing the number of women serving in leadership positions in organized OMS were identified as the most important measures to increase female involvement in academic OMS.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study shows that among the major motivating factors for choosing an academic career are involvement in resident-student teaching and colleague camaraderie and collaboration. Additional important factors for making this career choice are the research potential in academia, time flexibility, and not having to deal with excessive business practice issues. The reasons that deter women from entering OMS as a specialty and choosing a full-time academic OMS career are not significantly related to childbirth and family life. The main reason for potentially considering leaving an academic OMS career and/or among the least enjoyable aspects of being in academics is the potential for a higher income in private practice. Other reasons for potentially considering leaving an academic OMS career indicated by this study are independence/being in control and more family time, as well as the lack of institutional red tape. It appears that engaging female residents and students by female OMS surgeons, better mentorship by (both male and female) academic OMS surgeons, and increasing the number of female surgeons who can serve as role models may be beneficial in increasing the number of female OMS surgeons interested in an academic career.