The neurosurgical marriage: evaluating the interplay of work life and home life from the perspective of partners of neurosurgical residents

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Journal of Neurosurgery


OBJECTIVE Burnout and work-life balance have been noted to be problems for residents across all fields of medicine, including neurosurgery. No studies to date have evaluated how these factors may contribute to issues outside of the hospital, specifically residents’ home lives. This study aimed to evaluate the interplay between home life and work life of neurosurgical residents, specifically from the point of view of residents’ significant others. METHODS Online surveys were distributed to the significant others of neurosurgical residents at 12 US neurosurgery residencies. Residents’ partners were asked about relationship dynamics, their views on neurosurgery residency (work-life balance and burnout), and their views of neurosurgery as a career. RESULTS The majority of residents’ significant others (84%) reported being satisfied with their relationship. Significant others who reported dissatisfaction with their relationship were more likely to report frustration with work-life balance and more likely to report their resident partner as having higher levels of burnout. CONCLUSIONS From the perspective of neurosurgery residents’ significant others, higher perceived levels of burnout and lower satisfaction with work-life balance are correlated with lower levels of relationship satisfaction. These findings speak to the complex interplay of work life and home life and can be used to inform future interventions into improving the quality of life for both the resident and the significant other.

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