General surgery resident attrition and the 80-hour workweek.

Abstract

BACKGROUND This study examines the effect of implementation of the resident duty-hour regulations on the attrition rate of general surgery residents. METHODS A 7-part survey encompassing the 2001 to 2004 academic years was sent to program directors of general surgery residency programs in the United States. RESULTS One hundred twenty-four of 252 programs (49%) responded, reporting a loss of 338 categorical residents. The total attrition rate increased from .6 residents lost/program/y to .8 residents/program/y (P = .0013). Lifestyle concerns were the most commonly reported reason for residents leaving during surgical training. The majority (56%) of those who left surgery entered other fields of medicine (ie, Anesthesia and Family Medicine most commonly). CONCLUSIONS More residents are leaving general surgery training since the institution of the 80-hour workweek. Despite improvements in work hours and lifestyle during surgical training, residents migrate to specialties that are conducive to a more controllable lifestyle after experiencing surgery residency.

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