by Marten N. Basta, MD (@martenbasta)
Plastic Surgery Resident
Brown University, Providence, RI
The April edition of #PRSJournalClub provided an excellent discussion of an important topic in Plastic Surgery in the PRS article entitled “Factors Affecting Women’s Success in Academic and Private Practice Plastic Surgery” by Shah, Haws, and Kalliainen. This discussion can be found on the #PRSJournal Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PRSjournal), which enables a broad audience to ask questions and interact directly with the authors. The article can be found here.
In this study, the authors review various practice models as careers in Plastic Surgery and devote special attention to aspects specific to women in Plastic Surgery. Topics include what factors correlate with job satisfaction both in private and academic practices. Among women, workplace satisfaction related to gender equality, women in management positions, availability of maternity leave, family-friendly work policies, and work-life balance. While women have traditionally left academic practices at a greater rate than men, there is a growing number of practicing female plastic surgeons, which currently represent 15% of all plastic surgeons. Advantages of academic practice include less time spent managing the business aspect of medicine and greater resources from both a research and mentorship standpoint. There are still barriers to advancement in academia, including persistent cultural beliefs regarding traditional gender roles, implicit and explicit gender-bias, inadequate mentorship, and difficulty with work-life balance. Private practice requires more responsibility in managing a business, but offers greater control over patient selection, work schedule, and freedom in making decisions which affect the practice. Networking is a key aspect of private practice, and referral patterns must be cultivated, which is a challenging aspect in private practice. Overall, it seems that a key influential marker for workplace satisfaction is having good mentorship throughout the early parts of one’s career. Ultimately, major strides have been made in creating more gender equality in our field, but the fact remains that physician reimbursement data still shows disparity in the compensation for women both in private and salaried settings throughout their career. This study touches upon several possible targets for improvement in the future, but most importantly, recognizes that the need to improve is as critical now as it has been since plastic surgery became its own field.
The article was first discussed by the current Resident Ambassadors to the PRS Editorial Board Francisco Egro, MD (@FrancescoEgro), Nicole Phillips, MD (@DrNikkiPhillips), and Ira Savetsky, MD (@IraSavetskyMD) and the special guest moderator Amanda Gosman, MD (@amandatory_v). Listen to the podcast discussion below:
In addition, Dr. Anne Taylor (@doctrT) discussed this article on the #PRSJournal website in an exciting video discussion, which can be found here:
An engaging and thought-provoking online discussion also took place on the #PRSJournal Facebook page, over a two-day period (April 21-22), where established plastic surgeons and residents were able to ask questions, and get answers from the authors of the article themselves! Don’t worry if you missed it! A summary of the interesting discussion is provided here.
We hope you enjoy the top highlights from the discussion and look forward to seeing you at the next #PRSJournalClub on Facebook!