Gender and Cardiothoracic Surgery Training: Specialty Interests, Satisfaction, and Career Pathways.

Document Type


Publication Date



Cardiology, Surgery

Journal Title

The Annals of thoracic surgery

MeSH Headings

Adult, Career Choice, Education, Medical, Graduate, Female, Humans, Internship and Residency, Job Satisfaction, Male, Specialties, Surgical, Surveys and Questionnaires, Thoracic Surgery, United States


BACKGROUND: The cardiothoracic surgical workforce is changing. Although 5% of practicing surgeons are women, 20% of current cardiothoracic surgery residents are women. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of gender on specialty interest, satisfaction, and career pathways of current residents.

METHODS: Responses to the mandatory 2015 Thoracic Surgery Residents Association/Thoracic Surgery Directors Association in-training examination survey taken by 354 residents (100% response rate) were evaluated. The influence of gender was assessed with the use of standard univariate analyses.

RESULTS: Women accounted for 20% of residents, and the percentage did not vary with postgraduate year or program type (traditional versus integrated). Although no differences were found between the genders related to specialty interest, academic versus private practice career, or pursuit of additional training, women were more likely to pursue additional training in minimally invasive thoracic surgery (10% versus 2.5%, p = 0.001) and less likely to perform research in their careers (65% versus 88%, p = 0.043). Although women were equally satisfied with their career choice, had similar numbers of interviews and job offers, and felt equally prepared for their boards, graduating women felt less prepared technically (77% versus 90%, p = 0.01) and for practicing independently (71% versus 87%, p = 0.01). Women were less likely to be married (26% versus 62%, p < 0.001) and have children (19% versus 49%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Although career satisfaction and specialty interest were similar between the genders, women were less likely to intend to perform research during their careers despite similar previous research experience. Women also demonstrated lower rates of marriage and childbearing compared with their male counterparts.



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