BACKGROUND: Variability in post-graduate year 5 (PGY5) residents' operative self-efficacy exists; yet the causes of variability have not been explored. Our study aims to determine resident-related and program-dependent factors associated with residents' perceptions of self-efficacy. STUDY DESIGN: Following the 2020 American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination, a national survey of self-efficacy in 10 of the most commonly performed Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case-log procedures was completed. RESULTS: A total of 1,145 PGY5 residents completed the survey (response rate 83.8%), representing 296 surgical residency programs. Female sex (odds ratio [OR] 0.46 to 0.67; 95% CI 0.30 to 0.95; p < 0.05) was associated with decreased self-efficacy for 6 procedures. Residents from institutions with emphasis on autonomy were more likely to report higher self-efficacy for 8 of 10 procedures (OR 1.39 to 3.03; 95% CI 1.03 to 4.51; p < 0.05). In addition, increased socialization among residents and faculty also correlated with increased self-efficacy in 3 of 10 procedures (OR 1.41 to 2.37; 95% CI 1.03 to 4.69; p < 0.05). Procedures performed with higher levels of resident responsibility, based on Graduated Levels of Resident Responsibility (GLRR) and Teaching Assistant (TA) scores, were correlated with higher self-efficacy (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Ensuring that residents receive ample opportunities for GLRR and TA experiences, while implementing programmatic support for resident-dependent factors, may be crucial for building self-efficacy in PGY5 residents. Institutional support of resident "autonomy" and increasing methods of socialization may provide a means of building trust and improving perceptions of self-efficacy. In addition, reevaluating institutional policies that limit opportunities for graduated levels of responsibility, while maintaining patient safety, may lead to increased self-efficacy.
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