To leave or not to leave: American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) panel discussion on personal, parental, and family leave

Tareq Kheirbek, Danielle L. Hashmi, Brittany K. Bankhead, Daniel N. Holena, Robert D. Winfield, Ben L. Zarzaur, Jennifer Hartwell, Nicole A. Stassen, Shannon M. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Navigating planned and emergent leave during medical practice is very confusing to most physicians. This is especially challenging to the trauma and acute care surgeon, whose practice is unique due to overnight in-hospital call, alternating coverage of different services, and trauma center's staffing challenges. This is further compounded by a surgical culture that promotes the image of a tough' surgeon and forgoing one's personal needs on behalf of patients and colleagues. Frequently, surgeons find themselves having to make a choice at the crossroads of personal and family needs with work obligations: To leave or not to leave. Often, surgeons prioritize their professional commitment over personal wellness and family support. Extensive research has been conducted on the topic of maternity leave and inequality towards female surgeons, primarily focused on trainees. The value of paternity leave has been increasingly recognized recently. Consequently, significant policy changes have been implemented to support trainees. Practicing surgeon, however, often lack such policy support, and thus may default to local culture or contractual agreement. A panel session at the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma 2022 annual meeting was held to discuss the current status of planned or unanticipated leave for practicing surgeons. Experiences, perspectives, and propositions for change were discussed, and are presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere001104
JournalTrauma Surgery and Acute Care Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 14 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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