The Intersection of Work and Home Challenges Faced by Physician Mothers During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: A Mixed-Methods Analysis
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2020.8964
Objectives: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has presented extreme challenges for health care workers. This study sought to characterize challenges faced by physician mothers, compare differences in challenges by home and work characteristics, and elicit specific needs and potential solutions. Methods: We conducted a mixed-methods online survey of the Physician Moms Group (PMG) and PMG COVID19 Subgroup on Facebook from April 18th to 29th, 2020. We collected structured data on personal and professional characteristics and qualitative data on home and work concerns. We analyzed qualitative data thematically and used bivariate analyses to evaluate variation in themes by frontline status and children's ages. Results: We included 1,806 participants in analysis and identified 10 key themes. The most frequently identified need/solution was for Community and Government Support (n = 545, 47.1%). When comparing frontline and nonfrontline physicians, those on the frontline more frequently raised concerns about Personal Health and Safety (67.8% vs. 48.4%, p < 0.001), Organizational Communication and Relationships (31.8% vs. 23.8%, p < 0.001), and Family Health and Safety (27.2 vs. 16.6, p < 0.001), while nonfrontline physicians more frequently addressed Patient Care and Safety (56.4% vs. 48.2%, p < 0.001) and Financial/Job Security (33.8% vs. 46.9%, p < 0.001). Participants with an elementary school-aged child more frequently raised concerns about Parenting/Homeschooling (44.0% vs. 31.1%, p < 0.001) and Work/Life Balance (28.4 vs. 13.7, p < 0.001), and participants with a preschool-aged child more frequently addressed Access to Childcare (24.0 vs. 7.7, p < 0.001) and Spouse/Partner Relationships (15.8 vs. 9.5, p < 0.001), when compared to those without children in these age groups. Conclusions: The physician workforce is not homogenous. Health care and government leaders need to understand these diverse challenges in order to meet physicians' professional and family needs during the pandemic.