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Medical News & Perspectives
March 4, 2020

Fixing the Parent Trap for Resident Physicians

JAMA. 2020;323(12):1119-1121. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1084

Seeing residents struggle during their first several months after becoming a parent inspired Michael Gisondi, MD, to take action. As vice chair of education in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, he teamed up in the fall of 2017 with the emergency medicine residency program’s then-chief resident, June Gordon, MD, to craft a new policy that would lessen the strain.

The fruit of their efforts was a return-to-work policy for all new parents, including those who had a child born into their family, used a surrogate, adopted, or fostered. Under the policy, new parents can choose to forgo overnight shifts, unscheduled call, or having more than 3 shifts in a row for 6 weeks after their return from parental leave. For 4 weeks before their estimated delivery date, pregnant residents are exempt from overnight shifts, unscheduled call, and more than 3 shifts in a row. The policy also covers parental leave, lactation, and a comprehensive list of other resources for new parents.

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