Background: There has been a trend toward subspecialization among general surgery graduates, and many subspecialists are reticent to participate in trauma care. This has resulted in a gap in the provision of emergency surgical care. The Acute Care Surgery (ACS) fellowship, incorporating trauma, critical care, and emergency general surgery, was developed to address this need. One of the most important aspects in establishing these ACS fellowships is that they do not detract from the existing general surgery residents' experience.
Methods: The operative case logs for residents and fellows were compared for the number of resident cases during the 3 years before the ACS fellowship and during the 3 years after the fellowship was established. Surveys were distributed to the general surgery residents addressing the impact of the fellows from the resident's perspective at the end of the 2011 to 2012 academic year.
Results: There was no significant change in the number of total cases; total chief resident cases; and trauma, thoracic, or vascular procedures done per graduate. A decrease in the number of liver cases performed by the residents was noted but includes the increase in resident complement as well as the fellowship. ACS fellow cases increased from 172 cases in the first year to 221 cases in the second year and 295 in the third year. The survey showed that the residents had a very positive response to having the fellow as a teacher and did not feel like their operative experience was compromised with the addition of the ACS fellowship.
Conclusion: The ACS fellow did not compromise general surgery resident experience and was regarded as an asset to the resident's education. An ACS fellowship can be beneficial to residents and fellows.
Level of evidence: Care management study, level IV.