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Work Patterns of Women Physicians During Vacation: A Cross-Sectional Study - PubMed

Ariela L Marshall
Work Patterns of Women Physicians During Vacation: A Cross-Sectional Study - PubMed

Background: Burnout and poor work-life integration (WLI) are prevalent among women physicians. Vacation may help alleviate burnout and improve WLI but working while on vacation may negate these potential benefits. Little is known about the work patterns of women physicians on vacation, and we attempted to further characterize it in this study. Methods: In this online cross-sectional study of 498 members of the Physician Women in Leadership Facebook Group, we collected demographic information, information regarding burnout/WLI, self-reported work patterns while on vacation, and perceived impact of working during vacation on burnout/WLI. We also asked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these behaviors. Results: At baseline, 37.5% of respondents reported burnout and 58.4% reported lack of satisfaction with WLI. About 94.4% of respondents reported engaging in some level of work-related behavior while on vacation (primarily answering work-related emails and participating in work-related meetings), but 73.3% reported that such engagement was detrimental to their mental health and WLI. About 66.3% reported an increase in at least one work-related behavior on vacation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents identified and/or endorsed multiple strategies to reduce work-related engagement on vacation, many involving good modeling by leadership and/or national associations. Conclusions: Engagement in work-related behavior while on vacation is almost universal among women physicians, but most feel that it has negative effects on mental health and WLI. Strategies to encourage reduced engagement should be developed/strengthened and endorsed/modeled by those in leadership.

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