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Original Article
October 1, 2006

Part-time Training in General Surgery: Results of a Web-Based Survey

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: The University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville (Drs Saalwachter, Sawyer, and sanfey); The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md (Dr Freischlag).

Arch Surg. 2006;141(10):977-982. doi:10.1001/archsurg.141.10.977

Hypothesis  The recent increase in female medical school enrollment and emphasis on lifestyle considerations for both men and women pose challenges for residency recruitment and retention. This study was designed to assess interest in part-time surgical training. We hypothesized that more women than men would be interested in this option.

Design  A Web-based survey soliciting demographic information and opinions about training priorities was distributed to medical students, surgery residents, fellows, and trained surgeons. Respondents were asked to express on a 5-point Likert scale interest in (and deterrents to) substituting 1 or more years of standard residency with a shorter workweek (< 80 hours but > 40 hours) in exchange for a proportionately overall longer length of training.

Setting  The survey was located on the American College of Surgeons Web site.

Participants  Medical students (482), surgical residents (789), fellows (179), and fully trained surgeons (2858) affiliated with at least 1 of 4 major surgical societies.

Results  There were 4308 respondents (76% male). Of physician respondents, 9.1% had taken time out of residency for nonresearch reasons. Thirty-six percent of female and 24% of male students agreed to increased interest in surgical careers if part-time training were an option (P = .005). Twenty-five percent of female and 13% of male residents (P<.001) expressed interest in this option. Prolonged training was cited as the primary deterrent.

Conclusions  Eleven percent to 36% of total male and female respondents expressed interest in pursuing part-time training. Significantly more women than men favored a part-time option.