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Surgeons' Attitudes Towards Patient Concerns Regarding Trainees
*David J Nye, Timothy C Counihan, Jacqueline J Wu
Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield, MA

Objectives
Little is known about surgeons’ attitudes towards patient concerns about the role of trainees in their care. The nature of the discussion between surgeons and their patients about trainees and the impact on how patients are cared for is an important part of patient-centered care.
Design
Electronic, web based 15 question survey (Survey Monkey). Surgeon demographics, the frequency and nature of patients concerns about trainees, and the reactions to these concerns by surgeons were explored.
Setting
Online survey to e-mail accounts.
Subjects
528 Massachusetts Chapter - American College of Surgeons members.
Intervention
The online survey.
Main Outcome Measures
Surgeons’ attitudes and behaviors when patients question them.
Results
109 responses (21% response rate) were analyzed. The majority of surgeons from a variety of specialties were involved with teaching medical students and residents. Half the respondents trained fellows as well. Some surgeons (14.5%) encounter patient concerns at least weekly. The vast majority (84%) of concerns are addressed and successfully negotiated by surgeons. Patient concerns are raised more often in the community setting and to female surgeons with both groups more likely to alter their practice.
Conclusions
Although patient concerns about trainee involvement are infrequent, they arise enough to deserve specific attention in the current patient-centric environment. Surgeons successfully negotiate to have trainee involvement in the vast majority of cases. Specific guidelines should be developed and adopted to ensure patients consent to trainee involvement and understand the role of trainees and their supervision.


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