Advertisement

Boosting Surgical Trainee Confidence

During the transition from medical school to independent practice, residency training is critical for the development of physician confidence. According to recent studies, confidence in one’s own capabilities during surgery residencies increases significantly during the internship year. That is largely because interns have greater clinical responsibility for patient care than senior medical students. Other investigations have suggested that a developed sense of confidence may play a role in residents’ career satisfaction as well as the decisions to change specialties or professions during residency or to pursue additional specialty training. Characterizing Residents’ Confidence “Confidence is important in surgical residencies because it encompasses several personal attributes that may lead to professional satisfaction and success,” says Julie Ann Sosa, MD, MA, FACS. “The key is that these attributes—things like enthusiasm, assertiveness, independence, trust, handling criticism, and emotional maturity—must be channeled properly. These factors all have implications for job satisfaction and performance.” Little has been studied with regard to what is being done to develop surgical confidence during surgical residency training. There is a paucity of research reporting the confidence levels of general surgery residents across all postgraduate training years, Dr. Sosa explains. “Characterizing residents’ confidence and residency program factors that influence confidence among surgical residents is important to understand the decisions residents make regarding their training, especially with regard to attrition and further specialization.” New Study Data on Resident Confidence In the August 2011 Archives of Surgery, Dr. Sosa and colleagues sought to characterize factors that shaped surgery resident confidence and determine whether confidence was truly associated with future specialty training. In a cross-sectional study, the research team surveyed general surgery residents...

Balancing Life With a Career in Surgery

Graduate surgical education has changed significantly during the past 20 years. Several events have changed the landscape considerably, including the elimination of the pyramidal training system in 1983, the institution of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies in 1999, and the 80-hour work week mandate in 2003. As a result, there have been many new fast-track residencies and a rapid increase in the number of specialty fellowships, especially in minimally invasive surgery. These changes reflect a growing interest in tailoring traditional general surgery to the desire of residents who want to obtain specialty training. This has created a generation gap between current trainees and experienced surgeons in practice. In addition, specialization has emerged as a growing trend that might jeopardize the future of general surgery. According to published research, many factors play a role, including the changing demographics of medical schools and surgery residency programs, residency types, and early exposure through research that is performed during residency. “Gender-related studies on specialty training have historically focused on increasing the female surgeon pool,” says Julie Ann Sosa, MD, MA. “These studies highlight issues surrounding maternity leave, child care, female faculty role models, and shorter training programs. Unfortunately, there’s a paucity of research addressing the influence of external support systems, such as family, on surgical trainees’ plans to specialize during or after their residencies.” New Survey Highlights In the May 2010 Archives of Surgery, Dr. Sosa and colleagues conducted a nationwide survey of all categorical general surgery residents in the United States to identify factors that motivate residents to specialize. “More specifically, we examined the influences of marriage, family,...
[ HIDE/SHOW ]