WISQ (Women in Surgery Questionnaire): A Glimpse at the Caribbean Perspective
Calderon C, Maraj A, Roopnarine C and Crichlow J
Objective: This is a social research endeavour enquiring into the experiences and careers of women in surgery working in the Caribbean. It aims to assess the personal and professional fulfilment of women in the surgical specialty. This is critical to enhancing set patterns and highlighting areas requiring improvement.
Design: A 35- point questionnaire was distributed to seven (7) tertiary health care facilities in three (3) Caribbean countries. Study population inclusion criteria were all females in a post-graduate surgical programme, and all female registrars and consultants in the surgery department. Nine (9) surgical specialties were included.
Results: Out of the seventy-six (76) questionnaires delivered, seventy (70) of these were returned for analysis, averaging a ninety-two percent (92%) return. Analysis of this study population depicted a mean age of 37 years (SD 8.96), and the majority of physicians held registrar job roles, approximately forty- three percent (43%). Based on the 7-point Likert scale, job satisfaction was viewed positively (mean score [SD], 5.5 [1.5]), but personal satisfaction showed a general shift towards a less favourable stance (mean score [SD], 4.4 [1.89]). Over seventy percent (70%) indicated that they had no active mentor relationships, strongly contrasting with the sixty-one (61) respondents (88%), who declared that this would be beneficial to career advancement.
Conclusion: The glass ceiling has been mentioned several times when speaking about women in the surgical discipline worldwide. It is still a challenge in the 21st century in attempting to bridge the male-female imbalance in the workforce. However, active mentor relationships and the presence of positive female role-models, help attenuate this.