American Board of Surgery Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs): Assessing Graduating Residents’ Perception of Preoperative Entrustment

La Donna E. Kearse, Ingrid S. Schmiederer, Tiffany N. Anderson, Daniel L. Dent, Davis H. Payne, James R. Korndorffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine if graduating surgical residents are achieving entrustment of surgical entrustable professional activities (EPAs). We hypothesize that postgraduate year 5 (PGY5) residents are achieving evaluation and management entrustment in the selected EPAs. DESIGN: In January 2020, surgical residents completed a survey following the American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination (ABSITE) to measure their levels of entrustment in 4 of the 5 ABS-selected EPAs. A Resident Entrustability Index (REI) score was developed to ascertain PGY5 residents’ levels of entrustment (range 1-5). Residents indicated how often their assessments and operative plans were modified in the prior 6 months for each EPA (1=Always, 2=Frequently, 3=Occasionally, 4=Rarely, 5=Never). An independent clinical decision-making score (ICDM) was developed with subsequent evaluation of its relationships to intrinsic, resident-related and extrinsic, program-dependent factors. SETTING: A national post-ABSITE survey. PARTICIPANTS: All general surgery residents participating in ABSITE were invited to participate. Of the 1367 PGY5 residents that completed the survey, 1049 residents (76.7%) responded to the surgical EPA items. RESULTS: Residents achieved an average REI of 4, indicating rare modification of assessments and operative plans for the 4 EPAs assessed. Complete entrustment was reported for inguinal hernias and penetrating abdominal trauma (Median REI = 5, IQR 4, 5) indicating assessments and operative plans were never modified. Lack of entrustment (REI ≤3) was reported by a minority of residents (ranging from 8.6% for operative plan of right lower quadrant pathology to 12.8% for operative plan of blunt abdominal trauma). Significant resident-related and program-dependent factors associated with achievement of expected ICDM was socializing with a co-resident (p = 0.001), while training in one's hometown (p < 0.001) and policies that mandate attendings be scrubbed in (p = 0.022) were associated with decreased achievement of expected ICDM. Overall, 89.2% and 90.3% of PGY5 residents are attaining appropriate levels of entrustment and ICDM abilities, respectively, within 6 months of graduating. CONCLUSIONS: Of the EPAs evaluated, PGY5 residents are achieving appropriate levels of entrustment in evaluation and management. Although this is the case for a vast majority of PGY5 residents, there is still work to be done to ensure that all PGY5 residents are attaining entrustment prior to graduation. Our study also provides content validity for the surgical EPAs in assessing levels of entrustment in PGY5 residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e183-e188
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Competency-Based Education
  • Entrustable Professional Activity
  • Entrustment
  • Resident Education
  • Surgical Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Surgery


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