Pursuing professional accountability: An evidence-based approach to addressing residents with behavioral problems

Hilary Sanfey, Debra A. DaRosa, Gerald B. Hickson, Betsy Williams, Ranjan Sudan, Margaret L. Boehler, Mary E. Klingensmith, Debra Klamen, John D. Mellinger, James C. Hebert, Kerry M. Richard, Nicole K. Roberts, Cathy J. Schwind, Reed G. Williams, Ajit K. Sachdeva, Gary L. Dunnington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: To develop an evidence-based approach to the identification, prevention, and management of surgical residents with behavioral problems. Design: The American College of Surgeons and Southern Illinois University Department of Surgery hosted a 1-day think tank to develop strategies for early identification of problem residents and appropriate interventions. Participants read a selection of relevant literature before the meeting and reviewed case reports. Setting: American College of Surgeons headquarters, Chicago, Illinois. Participants: Medical and nursing leaders in the field of resident education; individuals with expertise in dealing with academic law, mental health issues, learning deficiencies, and disruptive physicians; and surgical residents. Main Outcome Measures: Evidence-based strategies for the identification, prevention, and management of problem residents. Results: Recommendations based on the literature and expert opinions have been made for the identification, remediation, and reassessment of problem residents. Conclusions: It is essential to set clear expectations for professional behavior with faculty and residents. A notice of deficiency should define the expected acceptable behavior, timeline for improvement, and consequences for noncompliance. Faculty should note and address systems problems that unintentionally reinforce and thus enable unprofessional behavior. Complaints, particularly by new residents, should be investigated and addressed promptly through a process that is transparent, fair, and reasonable. The importance of early intervention is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-647
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


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