Faculty and resident perceptions of surgical resident workload in comparison to objective data



      Little is known of the way in which stakeholders in surgical education perceive trainee workload.


      A web-based survey examining the perception of current resident workload (as a percentage of daytime activities) was distributed to the faculty and residents in a Canadian general surgery residency program. The analysis compared the trainee and faculty responses against a 660-hour resident workload observation dataset.


      A total of 17 residents and 16 faculty completed the survey (74%, 67% participation). The resident estimations of workload were accurate for task categories (r = 0.91) and individual tasks (r = 0.92). The faculty estimations were accurate for task category (r = 0.90) but less so for individual tasks (r = 0.78). The residents perceived that significantly less time was allocated toward educational activities than faculty. Both of the groups underestimated the amount of time spent on indirect patient care (IPC).


      The faculty overestimate educational tasks as a proportion of workload. Both of the groups underestimated IPC tasks. This information can guide resident training program design and be used to bridge gaps between resident and faculty perceptions of resident workload.
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