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2010 Annual Meeting Abstracts

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Interest in and Perceived Barriers to Flexible Track Residencies in General Surgery
*Sarah K Abbett, *Nathanael D Hevelone, Elizabeth M Breen, *Stuart R Lipsitz, *Sarah E Peyre, Stanley W Ashley, *Douglas S Smink
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

The American Board of Surgery now permits general surgery residents to complete their clinical training over a six year period. Despite this new policy, the level of interest in flexible scheduling remains undefined. We sought to determine why residents and program directors (PDs) are interested in flexible tracks and to understand implementation barriers.
National survey.
All U.S. general surgery residency programs that participate in the Association of Program Directors in Surgery listserv.
PDs and categorical general surgery residents in the United States.
Main Outcome Measures:
Attitudes about flexible tracks in surgery training. A flexible track was defined as a schedule that allows residents to pursue non-clinical time during residency with resulting delay in residency completion.
Of the 748 residents and 81 PDs who responded, 505 residents and 45 PDs were supportive of flexible tracks (68% vs. 56%, p=0.03). Residents and PDs were both interested in flexible tracks to pursue research (86% vs. 82%, p>0.05) and child-bearing (69% vs. 58%, p>0.05), but residents were more interested in pursuing international work (74% vs. 53%, p<0.005) and child-rearing (63% vs. 44%, p<0.05). 65% of PDs believe flexible tracks would make residency scheduling too complicated. While 71% of residents believe that residents who participate in a flexible track would not be respected as the equal of other residents, only 17% of PDs would not respect residents who participated (p<.0001).
Residents and PDs differ in their reasons for supporting flexible track residencies, and in their perceived barriers to implementation. These findings have important implications for the new policy of the American Board of Surgery.

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