Hypothesis: We hypothesized that physician assistants (PAs) will decrease surgery resident work hours and improve resident work outlook.
Design: Surgical resident survey.
Setting: A county hospital in a university-based surgical residency program.
Participants: Surgery residents who switched (or "rotated") to the county hospital were polled monthly for 6 months after using PAs as team members on the surgical services.
Main outcome measures: Resident work hours and work outlook.
Results: Surgery resident hours were significantly decreased by the fourth, fifth, and sixth months after PAs joined the surgical services. Despite what these data on resident hours suggest, 6 (60%) of 10 residents believed that the PAs had no influence on the amount of time the residents spend in the hospital. Six (60%) of 10 residents thought the PAs decreased stress levels and 6 (60%) of 10 residents thought the PAs helped to improve morale.
Conclusions: Physician assistants can have a positive influence on graduate surgical education programs. Physician assistants can help decrease surgery resident work hours and improve resident work outlook.