Introduction Even before the preliminary postgraduate year (PGY)-3 was eliminated from surgical residency, it had become increasingly difficult to fill general surgery PGY-4 vacancies. This ongoing need prompted the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS) leadership to form a task force to study the possibility of requesting the restoration of the preliminary PGY-3 to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-approved general surgery residency programs.
Methods The task force conducted a 10-year review of the APDS list serve to ascertain the number of advertised PGY-4 open positions. Following the review of the list serve, the task force sent IRB-approved electronic REDCap surveys to 249 program directors (PDs) in general surgery.
Results The list serve review revealed more than 230 requests for fourth-year residents, a number that most likely underestimates the need, as such, vacancies are not always advertised through the APDS. A total of 119 PDs (~48%) responded. In the last 10 years, these 119 programs needed an average of 2 PGY-4 residents (range: 0-8), filled 1.3 positions (range: 0-7), and left a position unfilled 1.3 times (range: 0-7). Methods for finding PGY-4 residents included making personal contacts with other PDs (52), posting on the APDS Topica List Serve (47), and using the APDS Web site for interested candidates on residency and fellowship job listings (52). Reasons for needing a PGY-4 resident included residents leaving the program (82), extra laboratory years (39), remediation (31), and approved program expansion (21), as well as other issues. Satisfaction scores for the added PGY-4 residents were more negative (43) than positive (30). Problems ranged from lack of preparation to professionalism. When queried as to an optimal number of preliminary residents needed nationally at the PGY-3 level, responses varied from 0 to 50 (34 suggested 10).
Conclusions The survey of PDs supports the need for the reintroduction of a limited number of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-approved preliminary PGY-3 positions in general surgery residency programs.
- general surgery
- preliminary residents
- surgical education
ASJC Scopus subject areas