Operative confidence of graduating surgery residents: a training challenge in a changing environment

Am J Surg. 2014 May;207(5):797-805. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2013.09.033. Epub 2014 Jan 17.


Background: Given the recent changes in general surgical training, this study was undertaken to assess the confidence of graduating general surgery residents in performing open operations and to determine factors that are associated with increased confidence.

Methods: A survey was sent to the 5th-year general surgery residents in the Northeast. Respondents were queried regarding demographics, program characteristics and asked to rate their confidence in performing open operations. We compared those who indicated confidence with those who did not.

Results: We received 232 responses: 74% male, 70% from university programs, and 50% from programs affiliated with a Veterans Affairs Hospital. Fifty-two percent expressed confidence in their ability to practice independently after residency. Operative confidence varied with sex, type of training program, affiliation to a Veterans Affairs Hospital, and surgical volume.

Conclusions: Graduating surgical residents indicated a significant lack of confidence in performing a variety of open surgical procedures. Analyzing and addressing this confidence deficit merits further study.

Keywords: Open surgery; Operative confidence; Resident confidence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mid-Atlantic Region
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New England
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Self Report
  • Self-Assessment