J Card Surg. 2020 Oct;35(10):2539-2542. doi: 10.1111/jocs.14872.
BACKGROUND: A major difference exists between the rate of females and males entering cardiac surgery (CSx) residency in Canada. The objective of this study was to investigate the concerns and perceived obstacles of medical students with regards to CSx residency training to identify potential modifiable factors.
METHODS: A 15-question web-based survey was designed to compare male to female medical students’ perceptions with regards to CSx training. The survey was distributed to all 682 medical students at Western University (London, ON, Canada) enrolled during 2018 to 2019 academic year. A total of 153 students (63 males vs 90 females) completed the survey.
RESULTS: More females perceived significant levels of difficulties to getting accepted in CSx residency programs (44/63 [63.8%] males vs 77/90 [85.6%] females, P = .03). As for their perception of the most difficult aspect about a career in CSx, more males expressed significant concerns about finding a job after completing the residency training (16/63 [25.3%] males vs 10/90 [11.0%] females, P = .02). A similar proportion of students expressed a strong interest in applying to a CSx residency (12/63 [19.0%] males vs 15/90 [16.7%] females, P = .83). Of these, more males expressed concerns about maintaining a work-life balance (6/12 [50%] males vs 1/15 [6.67%] female, P = .02), and more females expressed fears of not getting matched to CSx residency (3/12 [25%] males vs 11/15 [73.3%] females, P = .02).
CONCLUSION: Despite showing a strong interest in completing a residency in CSx, female medical students perceive a significant fear of not getting matched to the speciality, which limits them from applying.