General surgery morning report: a competency-based conference that enhances patient care and resident education

Curr Surg. 2006 Nov-Dec;63(6):385-90. doi: 10.1016/j.cursur.2006.06.005.


Purpose: After adopting a night float system, the residency program at the University of Virginia Health System Department of Surgery initiated a daily morning report (MR). The conference was originated to sign out new admissions and consults from the previous day to the services that would assume care. Although initially oriented toward transfer of patient information, MR is also hypothesized to serve as a competency-based resident education tool.

Methods: An anonymous survey was distributed to on-service residents (n = 25). Questions were asked on a 5-point Likert scale. Respondents also ranked the weekly conferences, including MR, in terms of educational benefit derived.

Results: Most residents agreed that MR is an efficient method to sign-out patient care [84% stongly agree (SA) or agree (A)] and that it provides an excellent educational experience (88% SA or A). They agreed that it is presented in an evidence-based format (88% SA or A). Regarding the core competencies, residents all asserted that MR addresses "patient care" (100% SA or A) and "medical knowledge" (100% SA or A). Most agreed that it addresses "professionalism" (60% SA or A), "interpersonal skills and communication" (76% SA or A), and "practice-based learning and improvement" (92% SA or A). The 4 most important components identified with respect to continuing to improve both patient care and resident education were the presence of the on-call attending, a review of relevant radiology, provision of follow-up on select cases, and critical review of the literature. On average, MR was seen as the most educational conference, with 52% of residents ranking it first.

Conclusions: Although MR is ubiquitous in most primary care residency programs, such a conference has not typically been held on surgical services. The MR was developed at the University of Virginia Health System Department of Surgery as a necessity for patient sign-out. As this conference has continued to evolve, it has become an excellent tool for resident education. It now serves the purpose of enhancing patient care and medical education and of providing evidence of learning and assessment of the general competencies. The MR provides an example for program directors of how to tailor existing resident work sessions or conferences to meet Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) competency requirements.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Models, Educational*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / methods*