Resident-as-Teacher Programs in General Surgery Residency: Context and Characterization

J Surg Educ. Sep-Oct 2019;76(5):1205-1210. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2019.03.004. Epub 2019 Mar 29.


Objective: Teaching medical students and junior residents are key components of a surgical resident's role. How surgical residents are formally prepared for their teaching role is not well described. The aim of this study was to characterize the status of formal Resident-as-Teacher Programs (RATPs) in U.S. general surgery residency programs. We also sought to understand current attitudes towards teaching by residents.

Design: A survey regarding the presence of RATPs and attitudes toward teaching by residents was sent through the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS) to general surgery program directors (PDs).

Setting: The study was conducted using an electronically distributed survey.

Participants: Program directors of general surgery residencies were contacted through the APDS.

Results: Program directors from 105 institutions completed the survey; one did not respond to the question about RATPs. 27 (26%) indicated they utilized a RATP. Of these programs the majority, 25 (93%), were developed at the institution and only 2 (6%) used a published curriculum. For the programs without a RATP, 47 (61%) of PDs indicated they were interested in establishing one. Respondents not interested most often cited other resident obligations and time constraints as limiting factors.

Conclusions: Fewer than one third of responding programs have an established RATP; of those programs that do not have a RATP, the majority are interested in establishing one. Residents clearly play an important role teaching and PDs acknowledge teaching is an important part of residents' daily job, thus formal preparing residents for their teaching role is important. Development and dissemination of a RATP that can be easily incorporated in to general surgery programs would meet an identified need in general surgery training.

Keywords: Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Medical education; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; Program evaluation; Resident as teacher; Surgical education.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Students, Medical*
  • Teacher Training*