Floating residents

I was talking to one of my interns the other day - she had a child in medical school, and is thinking about having another one - and she pointed out that our residency program (like many others, I imagine) has no maternity leave. Meaning: sure, you can have a child during residency, and no one will fire you for that (nothing short of killing patients will get you fired from a residency program, so desirous are hospitals of working diploma'd bodies) -- but you will have to cobble together your own leave, and it won't be any more leave than what is granted to any resident under our current schedule: namely, four weeks of vacation (two times two weeks) and several months of elective (still working, but pretty much nine-to-five).

On second thought, since employers are required to guarantee more maternity leave than that by law, I suppose our residency program is indeed guilty of failing to offer proper maternity leave. No one will take it to court for that reason, because residency programs have long enjoyed the benefits (and curses) of the twilight zone between educational establishment (students can work, and be made to work, as much as they agree to) and patient-care employer (subject to 405 regulations and all the rest of it).

If our residency program, and all others, were (made) to decide that they should offer proper maternity leave, in a block like other employers do, how would this happen in practicality? Two things would have to be true: residency programs would have to allow residents to finish in longer than the time customarily allotted to them; and "floater" residents would have to be available to fill in the gaps when others take leave. (You can't have residents in the same program fill in, as this would undoubtedly run afoul of work-hour regulations.)

Floater residents: why not? Our program hires moonlighting attendings, PAs, and all manner of other healthcare providers.


  1. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Are you talking about your intern, or are you masking some plan or desire of your own? We eagerly await.

    - Fred

  2. I'm not going on maternity leave, that's for sure. As for other developments - we'll see. (Ask me off-blog.)