SNIS: Physicians “should not have to choose” between family life and professional career

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The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) has released a position statement advocating pregnancy and parental leave policies in neurointerventional surgery, also voicing support for a physician’s ambition to have a family, as well as start, develop and maintain a career in this specialty.

According to the statement, the SNIS believes that those in the field who are birthing or non-birthing parents—including those who adopt, foster, and the like—should not be penalised in any way, and legal and regulatory mandates and family friendly workplace policies should be considered when institutions and individual practitioners approach the issue of childbearing in the context of a career in neurointerventional surgery.

Neurointerventionist and SNIS member Amanda Baker (University of California San Francisco [UCSF], San Francisco, USA) led a structured literature review with her peers regarding parental leave policies in neurointerventional surgery and related arenas. This involved evaluating a 2019 survey of those in the field, which included proposed changes to reduce barriers for women and parents pursuing family life, as well as addressing concerns regarding radiation exposure.

“We are grateful to the leadership of SNIS and the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery (JNIS) for supporting all people—­­all families—­­in this amazing field,” said Baker. “I would like to personally thank UCSF’s Neuroendovascular Surgery programme for training me as their second female and first pregnant neurointerventionist.”

The recent position statement was developed by the SNIS’ Women in Neurointervention committee, Standards and Guidelines committee, and board of directors, and has been published in JNIS.

Other recommendations made in the statement include making the use of vacation time flexible for those undergoing family planning methods or procedures, particularly within training programmes. It also states a belief that fellowship training, career promotion and job security should be maintained during the process of starting a family.

“SNIS believes people should not have to choose between a fulfilling family life or professional career, especially when the nature and urgency of neurointerventional treatments require emotional, physical and mental demands on every person at each experience level,” added SNIS president J Mocco (Mount Sinai, New York, USA). “Things like allowing flexibility for scheduling prenatal appointments, to not penalising those who use family leave, are vital and will have lifelong benefits to those in neurointerventional surgery and their families.

“We want our practitioners to know that we do not believe taking time for family needs is a lack of commitment to the profession.”


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