Current demographic patterns and lifestyle factors of general surgery residents may contribute to recent changes in recruitment patterns.
Survey addressing the characteristics of general surgery residency, including demographic data, 3-year recruitment and retention trends, and working conditions of general surgery residents.
A convenience sample of all residency program directors in attendance at the 2001 Surgical Education Week was given the opportunity to voluntarily complete the survey.
A total of 109 program directors responded to the survey. Women constitute 25% of all current general surgery residents: 66% of the program directors perceived a decline in the number of applicants for general surgery residency. Recruitment patterns differ significantly between small (≤4 categorical residents per year) and large (>4 categorical residents per year) residency programs. Residents at large programs averaged a 95-hour workweek, whereas those at small programs averaged an 88-hour workweek (P = .01). The mean 1-year attrition rate for general surgery residents was 20.2% in 2000, and attrition showed no relationship to program size, gender composition, or working conditions.
Women remain underrepresented in general surgery residency. Recruitment and match statistics show some variation, but the relevance of a shrinking applicant pool to these changes is unclear. Resident working conditions remain a difficult issue, and attrition rates continue to be significant. A substantial research agenda remains in graduate surgical education.