Physician assistant influence on surgery residents

Arch Surg. 2003 Sep;138(9):971-5; discussion 975-6. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.138.9.971.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Data Collection
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Physician Assistants*
  • United States
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / psychology*
  • Workload* / psychology