The Impact of Parental Leave on Extending Training and Entering the Board Certification Examination Process: A Specialty-Based Comparison

Rose, Steven H.; Burkle, Christopher M.; Elliott, Beth A.; Koenig, Lisa F.
November 2006
Mayo Clinic Proceedings;Nov2006, Vol. 81 Issue 11, p1449
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVE: To study the Impact of parental leave on extending residency training and the timing of entrance into the specialty board certification examination system. METHODS: From June 3, 2005, through December.28, 2005, primary specialty board policies regarding parental leave, absence from training, and the timing of entrance into the board certification examination process were reviewed for all American Board of Medical Specialties programs with a national enrollment of more than 100 residents. The impact of a 6-week parental leave on extending training and qualifying to enter the board certification examination system was compared among these specialties. RESULTS: All specialty boards studied, except for the American boards of neurosurgery, ophthalmology, psychiatry, neurology, and thoracic surgery, have defined limits on absences from training. The limits on absence from training among the 21 other residency programs studied are generally similar, but important differences exist. These differences include the maximum length of time away from training per year, whether absence from training can accumulate year to year, and whether the length of time away from training is consistent for each postgraduate year of the training program. The impact of a 6-week parental leave on qualifying for the board certification examination system on schedule varies from no impact to delaying entrance for 1 year. CONCLUSION: Specialty board policies regarding absence from training and entering the board certification examination process vary and could influence decisions about family planning, the length of time taken for parental leave, the use of vacation time for parental leave, and resident well-being.


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