Surgery Program Director Turnover Correlates With Residency Graduate Failure on American Board of Surgery Examinations in Civilian Residency Programs

Davis H. Payne, Daniel L. Dent, Mohammed J. Al Fayyadh, Jason W. Kempenich, Ross E. Willis, Ronald M. Stewart, John R. Potts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: The Review Committee for Surgery requires a minimum program director (PD) tenure of 6 years. The impact of PD turnover on the performance of program graduates is unknown. We hypothesize that (1) the majority of PDs step down before 6-year tenure and (2) higher PD turnover is associated with higher failure rate on American Board of Surgery (ABS) examinations. Methods: Start and stop dates of all surgery PDs between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2017 were obtained for civilian surgery programs. A Kaplan-Meier curve of PD “survival” was constructed. Programs were divided into High Turnover (HT; ≥4 PD changes, n = 33) and Low Turnover (LT; ≤3 PD changes, n = 191) groups. Five-year (2013-2017) ABS pass rates were also obtained. Pass rates and compliance with current standards were compared between groups. Results: Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that 40% of PDs do not comply with ACGME policy and serve <6 years. HT programs had lower mean pass rates on ABS certifying exam than LT programs (76% vs 83%, p < 0.01), but not qualifying exam (88% vs 88%). HT programs are less likely to meet the current 65% pass rate standard (82% vs 93%, p < 0.05). Conclusions: (1) An estimated 40% of general surgery PDs had tenures of <6 years. (2) Greater PD turnover is associated with lower ABS pass rates among general surgery graduates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • ABS exam
  • graduate medical education
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Professionalism
  • program director
  • resident education
  • surgery
  • surgical education
  • Systems-Based Practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

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