Parental leave does not impact residents’ subsequent board scores

Taking extended leave during residency for parental or medical leave does not appear to impact subsequent board scores, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

James T. McDeavitt, M.D., from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues assessed differences in part I (written) and part II (oral) certification examination performance and determined the prevalence of delays in taking board examinations among physical medicine and rehabilitation residents who took and did not take an extended leave of absence during residency.

The researchers identified four reasons for extended leave of absence: medical; parental; academic/remediation; and unspecified personal reasons. Compared with those without leave, residents who took an extended leave of absence for medical or parental reasons had similar or better odds of passing their part I and part II examinations. However, residents who took leave for academic/remediation concerns or unspecified personal reasons had lower odds of passing their board examinations. Examination delays associated with parental or personal health leaves did not affect board pass rates.

“If you have residents going out on parental leave, the data would show that’s OK,” McDeavitt said in a statement. “You should not be overly concerned about the performance of those residents when they come back.”