MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mohammed Al-Omran, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Head, Division of Vascular Surgery
St. Michael’s Hospital
Professor, Department of Surgery
University of Toronto
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: General surgery residency is among the most demanding clinical training programs in medicine. Several studies have suggested surgical residents have a relatively high attrition rate; however, no study has systematically reviewed the overall prevalence and causes of attrition among general surgery residents.
We included over 20 studies representing 19,821 general surgery residents in our review. Most studies were from the US. We found the pooled estimate of attrition prevalence among general surgery residents was 18%. Female residents were more likely to leave than male (25% versus 15%), and residents were most likely to leave after their first training year (48%). Departing residents most commonly switched to another medical specialty (such as anaesthesia, plastic surgery, radiology or family medicine) or relocated to another general surgery program. The most common causes of attrition were uncontrollable lifestyle (range of 18% to 88%) and transferring to another specialty (range of 18% to 39%).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Nearly 1 in 5 general surgery residents leave their training program in the US – this is relatively higher than other specialties considered to be more “lifestyle friendly” such as ophthalmology, internal medicine and emergency medicine. Furthermore, women in general surgery residency programs have a relatively higher rate of attrition than men, and particular focus is required in understanding and addressing the unique challenges female surgical residents face.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Future studies should focus on developing interventions and policies to limit resident attrition.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Khoushhal Z, Hussain MA, Greco E, Mamdani M, Verma S, Rotstein O, Tricco AC, Al-Omran M. Prevalence and Causes of Attrition Among Surgical ResidentsA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Surg. Published online December 14, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.4086
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