About 20% of general surgery residents opt out of program; women more likely to leave — 8 insights

Written by Megan Wood | December 16, 2016 | Print  |

Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based St. Michael's Hospital researchers investigated how many residents complete their programs, according to Medscape.

The analysis included 20 studies on general residency programs in the United States, one study in Pakistan and one in China.


JAMA Surgery published the findings online on Dec. 14, 2016.


Here are eight insights:


1. The researchers found approximately 20 percent of general surgery residents opted out of their programs.


2. The analysis shows 25 percent of female residents left their programs, compared to 15 percent of male residents. The researchers surmised these statistics may be due to a dearth of female role models; sex discrimination; and absence of program support for women.


3. Forty-eight percent of residents quit their program after their first postgraduate year, with 28 percent leaving after their second year.


4. "Uncontrollable lifestyle during training" and "switching specialties" represented the top two reasons general surgery residents left their programs, as reported by Medscape.


5. If switching specialties, general surgery residents tended to choose anesthesia most frequently.


6. "Financial hardship, poor performance or dismissal, family needs and health issues," are other common reasons for program departure, as reported by Medscape.


7. To combat this trend, the researchers recommended medical students participate in a six-to eight-week internship focused on general surgery so they know what to expect before diving into residency.


8. The researchers also suggested pairing every student with a mentor for the last two years of medical school, so students are prepared academically and mentally for a surgery residency.


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