Utility of a Standardized Fourth-Year Medical Student Surgical Preparatory Curriculum: Program Director Perceptions

Melissa K. Stewart, Rebecca C. Henry, Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, Kyla P. Terhune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Each July, surgical interns arrive to residency with variable skills, knowledge, and clinical experience. To standardize and improve intern preparation, the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Association of Program Directors in Surgery, and Association for Surgical Education developed a pilot Resident Prep Curriculum (RPC). To date, no studies have analyzed these efforts. We aimed to discern program director (PD) perceptions of RPC participants as an initial means of analysis. Design: A 17-question PD survey was designed to assess variable preparedness and performance between RPC participants and nonparticipants. PDs reporting matriculation of a RPC participant were first asked to globally compare the participant to nonparticipants. Using a 5-point Likert scale, PDs were then asked to compare participants to nonparticipants in 7 distinct categories, which were based on course objectives that parallel the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies. Descriptive statistics and tests of significance were performed to evaluate the responses. Participants: The survey was sent via electronic mail to 245 accredited general surgery residency PDs. Results: A total of 103 (42.0%) PDs responded. Of the respondents, 27 (26.2%) reported matriculation of a RPC participant. When assessing efficiency in intern responsibilities, 26.9% of PDs noted participant advantage, and when gauging comfort in intern-role, 25.9% of PDs reported participant benefit. Across the 7 queried course objectives, there was a statistically significant improvement in the technical skill domain (p = 0.007) and a nonsignificant trend toward improvement in several of the other 6 domains: interpersonal skills (p = 0.055), medical knowledge (p = 0.067), patient care (p = 0.081), systems-based practice (p = 0.085), problem-based learning (p = 0.106), and professionalism (p = 0.357). Conclusions: PD perceptions revealed global advantage to RPC participation Furthermore, 1/4 of the time and specific competency performance showed substantial improved performance in technical skills. Survey timing and washout may bias this study, and the results should be compared to learner and senior resident perceptions, where observations may be more granular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-643
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Medical Knowledge
  • Patient Care
  • education
  • intern
  • medical student
  • residency
  • resident prep curriculum
  • resident preparatory course
  • surgery


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