Trauma and Surgical Critical Care Workforce in the United States: A Severe Surgeon Shortage Appears Imminent

Stephen M. Cohn, Michelle A. Price, C. Lizette Villarreal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: We conducted a survey to determine the state of the trauma and critical care workforce and compensation for such surgeons. Study Design: We sent questionnaires to 460 directors of Level I and Level II trauma centers in the US to gather information about their current and expected resource needs and compensation packages. Results: We received responses from 117 directors (25%). Midlevel faculty mean salary was $282,000 ± $85,000; with a mean bonus of $33,000 ± $34,000; and a mean trauma call stipend of $1,690 ± $900. Mean of the yearly representative value units of work was 7,845 ± 3,154. An average of 1.7 ± 1.4 trauma surgeon positions per center are currently unfilled (mean vacancy duration of 19 ± 20 months), with another 1.2 ± 0.5 full-time equivalents expected to retire within 3 years. A mean of 0.9 ± 0.9 additional positions are expected to be added within the next 3 years because of the growing workload. By 2012, the US might have 1,500 unfilled trauma surgeon positions (with 2,250 occupied). Conclusions: Trauma and critical care surgeons in the US are clinically busy and well compensated for their efforts, but a severe shortage of surgeons in this specialty appears imminent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-452.e4
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Volume209
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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