Residency training in colposcopy: a survey of program directors in obstetrics and gynecology and family practice

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Aug;185(2):507-13. doi: 10.1067/mob.2001.115993.


Objective: Our goal was to identify how colposcopy is being taught to residents in obstetrics and gynecology and family practice programs and to see if the program directors think their residents receive sufficient clinical exposure to be adequately trained in colposcopy.

Study design: A 30-question survey was sent to all obstetrics and gynecology and family practice residency program directors. The survey included questions about the didactic nature of the colposcopy curriculum, the type of supervision, how resident skills are evaluated, estimates of the numbers and types of patients evaluated, the numbers and types of procedures being done by each resident, and the program director's perception of residents' competence in colposcopy.

Results: The overall response rate was 485 of 752 program directors (64.5%). Significantly fewer family practice than obstetrics and gynecology program directors thought they had adequate numbers of colposcopy patients to train their residents. By their program directors' estimates, 86% of family practice residents evaluate 10 or fewer patients with high-grade lesions (versus 16.5% of obstetrics and gynecology residents); 51.4% evaluate 10 patients or fewer with low-grade lesions (versus 6.7% of obstetrics and gynecology residents), and 40.6% evaluate 10 patients or fewer with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (versus 3% of obstetrics and gynecology residents). Experience with vulvar disease is also limited. Program directors thought their residents' colposcopy skills were roughly comparable with their general obstetrics and gynecology skills.

Conclusions: It is possible that many program directors underestimate the number of colposcopic examinations required to achieve and maintain colposcopic skills. Many training programs have insufficient clinical volume to properly train residents in colposcopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colposcopy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Curriculum
  • Data Collection
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gynecology / education*
  • Gynecology / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Obstetrics / education*
  • Obstetrics / statistics & numerical data