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News

Educational debt influences career and quality of life among academic surgeons

This month’s Annals of Surgery investigates the effect of educational debt on career and quality of life among academic surgeons.

News image

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Dr Melina Kibbe and colleagues from Illinois, USA assessed indebtedness among academic surgeons and its repercussions on personal finances, quality of life, and career choices.

The team found the influence of educational debt on academic surgical career choices and quality of life is unknown.

The team hypothesized that educational debt affects professional choices and quality of life.

The team designed a web-based survey to assess respondent demographics, educational and consumer indebtedness, and the influence of educational debt on career choices and quality of life among academic surgeons.

The researchers reported that 555 surgeons responded.

The team reported that 66% respondents finished postgraduate training with educational debt, 34% reported no debt, and 26% did not respond.

Among those with educational debt, the mean educational debt was $90,801 and mean noneducational consumer debt was $32,319.

Individuals without educational debt reported a mean of $15,104 of noneducational consumer debt, and had higher mean salaries versus those with educational debt.

87% with educational debt would make the same career choice again
Annals of Surgery

The research team noted that 87% of respondents with educational debt would make the same career choice again.

The team found 35% acknowledged it placed a strain on their relationship with their significant other, 48% felt it influenced the type of living accommodations they could afford.

The team observed that 29% reported it forced their significant other to work. Alarmingly, 32% of academic surgeons would not recommend their career choice to their children or medical students.

Dr Kibbe‘s team concluded, “Many academic surgeons reported that their educational debt affected their academic productivity, career choices, and quality of life.”

“Consequently, efforts to mitigate the impact of educational debt on academic surgeons are required to ensure medical students continue to pursue academic surgical careers.” 

Ann Surg 2009: 249(2): 342-8


19 February 2009

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