Brief Reports

You Can’t Have It All: The Experience of Academic Hospitalists During Pregnancy, Parental Leave, and Return to Work


BACKGROUND: The United States lags behind most other countries regarding the support for working mothers and parental leave. Data are limited to describe the experience of female hospital medicine physicians during pregnancy, parental leave, and their return to work in academic hospital medicine.
METHODS: We conducted a qualitative descriptive study including interviews with 10 female academic hospitalists chosen from institutions across the country that are represented in Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) Committees. Interview guides were based on the following domains: experience in pregnancy, parental leave, and return to work. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a general inductive approach to theme analysis using the ATLAS.ti software (Scientific Software Development GmbH, Berlin, Germany).
PRIMARY OUTCOME: Women in hospital medicine experience the following six common challenges in their experience as new parents, each of which has the potential to impact their career trajectory, wellness, and are associated with areas for institutional improvement: (1) access to paid parental leave, (2) physical challenges, (3) breastfeeding, (4) career opportunities, (5) colleague responses, and (6) empathy in patient care.

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