Surgical Inpatient's Attitudes Toward Resident Participation: All About Expectations

Katherine G. Beale, Jason W. Kempenich, Ross E. Willis, Mohammed J. Al Fayyadh, Charles C. Reed, Carmen Paccione, Peter A. Ebeling, Haisar E. Dao Campi, Daniel L. Dent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Determine whether an educational video can improve surgical inpatients’ attitudes toward resident participation in their care. METHODS: Patients admitted to the Trauma/Emergency General Surgery Service at University Hospital (San Antonio, Texas) were randomly divided into control and intervention groups. Patients in the intervention group viewed a short educational video about the role and responsibilities of medical students, residents, and attending surgeons. All patients then completed a previously published survey. RESULTS: A total of 140 patients responded to the survey (control = 81 and intervention = 59 patients). Overall, 86.4% of patients were welcoming of resident participation. Patients who were expecting residents to be involved in their care had attitudes that are more favorable on almost all survey questions regardless of their study condition. However, patients in the intervention group who expected resident involvement in their care had more favorable attitudes about senior residents (postgraduate year 3-5) assisting in routine or complicated surgery than those in the control group who were expecting resident involvement (both p ≤ 0.001). This same group of patients also had more favorable attitudes about surgical outcomes and overall surgical health when residents are involved (p = 0.004, p = 0.001, respectively). Most patients (79%) said they had no residents previously involved in their care, or they were unsure if residents were previously involved. CONCLUSIONS: Patient expectation of resident involvement is one of the most important factors influencing perceptions of inpatients about resident participation in surgery. Our goal should be early and frequent discussion with patients about resident involvement in order to foster an atmosphere of trust, including full transparency regarding resident involvement in surgical procedures. An educational video may help introduce the roles of trainees and attending surgeons but should not be used in lieu of direct discussion with patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e28-e33
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Ethics
  • Graduate medical education
  • Program director
  • Resident training
  • Student education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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