Confidentiality concerns for surgical residents as educational research subjects: A pilot study

Alicia M. Bonanno, Mackenzie R. Cook, Kelly Fair, Elizabeth Dewey, Laszlo Kiraly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Research within the field of surgical education has been expanding rapidly in order to guide future curricula. However, education studies often have minimal IRB oversight and evolving concerns exist regarding issues of informed consent of trainees. Methods: We conducted an electronic, single center, anonymous survey of general surgery residents. The survey study was IRB approved and subjects were provided with information and opt-out sheets. Results: The response rate was 43.5% (37/85). Approximately 76% of residents felt that education research was important and that they should participate. If a faculty member conducted the study, 18% of residents would feel coerced to participate and 21% would feel uncomfortable refusing to participate. The majority (81%) felt uncomfortable with peers viewing their identifiable records and a sizeable minority (24%) were uncomfortable with peers viewing de-identified records. Conclusion: Surgical residents believe that educational research is important, but researchers should be cognizant of unintended consequences on resident autonomy and confidentiality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-633
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Confidentiality
  • Education research
  • Ethics
  • Surgical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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