The state of general surgery residency in the United States: Program director perspectives, 2001

Leigh A. Neumayer, Amalia Cochran, Spencer Melby, Hugh M. Foy, Marc K. Wallack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: Current demographic patterns and life-style factors of general surgery residents may contribute to recent changes in recruitment patterns. Design: Survey addressing the characteristics of general surgery residency, including demographic data, 3-year recruitment and retention trends, and working conditions of general surgery residents. Participants: A convenience sample of all residency program directors in attendance at the 2001 Surgical Education Week was given the opportunity to voluntarily complete the survey. Results: A total of 109 program directors responded to the survey. Women constitute 25% of all current general surgery residents: 66% of the program directors perceived a decline in the number of applicants for general surgery residency. Recruitment patterns differ significantly between small (≤4 categorical residents per year) and large (>4 categorical residents per year) residency programs. Residents at large programs averaged a 95-hour workweek, whereas those at small programs averaged an 88-hour workweek (P=.01). The mean 1-year attrition rate for general surgery residents was 20.2% in 2000, and attrition showed no relationship to program size, gender composition, or working conditions. Conclusions: Women remain underrepresented in general surgery residency. Recruitment and match statistics show some variation, but the relevance of a shrinking applicant pool to these changes is unclear. Resident working conditions remain a difficult issue, and attrition rates continue to be significant. A substantial research agenda remains in graduate surgical education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1262-1265
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


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