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Results of a national survey of surgical resident interest in international experience

The most recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons reports on the results of a national survey of surgical resident interest in international experience, electives, and volunteerism.

News image

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Data are emerging about the essential nature of sustainable global surgical care and interest among North American surgeons.

Currently, there is no formal mechanism for US surgical residents to participate in international training opportunities.

A small, single-institution survey found that general surgery residents at New York University are highly motivated to pursue international training.

However, little research has addressed the attitudes of North American residents about international training.

94% of respondents planned careers in general surgery
Journal of the American College of Surgeons

Dr Anathea Powell and colleagues from New York, USA acquired a broader understanding of surgical resident interest in international training.

A structured questionnaire was administered anonymously and voluntarily to all American College of Surgeons resident members.

The research team reported that 624 residents completed surveys.

The team found that 94% of respondents planned careers in general surgery.

The research team observed that 92% of respondents were interested in an international elective, and 82% would prioritize the experience over all or some other electives.

The team found that 54% and 73% of respondents would be willing to use vacation and participate even if cases were not counted for graduation requirements, respectively.

Educational indebtedness was high among respondents, at about $100,000 debt in 50% of respondents.

Despite debt, 85% of respondents plan to volunteer while in practice.

The most frequent barriers identified by respondents were financial and logistic.

Dr Powell’s team concluded, “American College of Surgeons resident members are highly motivated to acquire international training experience, with many planning to volunteer in the future.”

“A consensus among stakeholders in North American surgical education is needed to further explore international training within surgical residency.”

J Am Coll Surg 2009: 208(2): 304-12


29 January 2009

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