The Effect of Patient Education on the Perceptions of Resident Participation in Surgical Care

Jason W. Kempenich, Ross E. Willis, Robert J. Blue, Mohammed J. Al Fayyadh, Robert M. Cromer, Paul J. Schenarts, Kent R Van Sickle, Daniel L. Dent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective To decipher if patient attitudes toward resident participation in their surgical care can be improved with patient education regarding resident roles, education, and responsibilities. Design An anonymous questionnaire was created and distributed in outpatient surgery clinics that had residents involved with patient care. In total, 3 groups of patients were surveyed, a control group and 2 intervention groups. Each intervention group was given an informational pamphlet explaining the role, education, and responsibilities of residents. The first pamphlet used an analogy-based explanation. The second pamphlet used literature citations and statistics. Setting Keesler Medical Center, Keesler AFB, MS. University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX. Participants A total of 454 responses were collected and analyzed—211 in the control group, 118 in the analogy pamphlet group, and 125 in the statistics pamphlet group. Results Patients had favorable views of residents assisting with their surgical procedures, and the majority felt that outcomes were the same or better regardless of whether they read an informational pamphlet. Of all the patients surveyed, 80% agreed or strongly agreed that they expect to be asked permission for residents to be involved in their care. Further, 52% of patients in the control group agreed or strongly agreed to a fifth-year surgery resident operating on them independently for routine procedures compared to 62% and 65% of the patients who read the analogy pamphlet and statistics pamphlet, respectively (p = 0.05). When we combined the 2 intervention groups compared to the control group, this significant difference persisted (p = 0.02). Conclusion Most patients welcome resident participation in their surgical care, but they expect to be asked permission for resident involvement. Patient education using an information pamphlet describing resident roles, education, and responsibilities improved patient willingness to allow a chief resident to operate independently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e111-e117
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Patient Care
  • Professionalism
  • autonomy
  • graduate surgical education
  • patient care
  • patient education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Surgery


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