Hypothesis: We hypothesized that physician assistants (PAs) will decrease surgery resident work hours and improve resident work outlook. Design: Surgical resident survey. Setting: A county hospital in a university-based surgical residency program. Participants: Surgery residents who switched (or "rotated") to the county hospital were polled monthly for 6 months after using PAs as team members on the surgical services. Main Outcome Measures: Resident work hours and work outlook. Results: Surgery resident hours were significantly decreased by the fourth, fifth, and sixth months after PAs joined the surgical services. Despite what these data on resident hours suggest, 6 (60%) of 10 residents believed that the PAs had no influence on the amount of time the residents spend in the hospital. Six (60%) of 10 residents thought the PAs decreased stress levels and 6 (60%) of 10 residents thought the PAs helped to improve morale. Conclusions: Physician assistants can have a positive influence on graduate surgical education programs. Physician assistants can help decrease surgery resident work hours and improve resident work outlook.
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