Perceived benefits of a transplant surgery experience to general surgery residency training

Jason J. Schwartz*, Heather F. Thiesset, Jacqueline A. Bohn, Benjamin Sloat, Martin Carricaburu, Jenny Hatch, John B. Sorensen, Robin D. Kim, Daniel Vargo, Jonathan Paul Fryer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: The benefit of a solid-organ transplant experience during general surgical training has been questioned recently. In 2008, in response to an American Board of Surgery (ABS) directive, a survey was conducted by the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS) in coordination with the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) to determine the perceived value of a transplant surgery rotation to program directors and residents. With the aim of providing additional insight, we conducted a separate study, independent of the ABS and ASTS, to ascertain resident perceptions regarding the specific skill sets that they acquire during their transplant surgery rotations and their applicability to other surgical subspecialties. Methods: A preliminary, 51-item, web-based questionnaire was completed by 69.6% of residents in nationally accredited general surgery programs who accessed the survey. The results were examined using appropriate statistical methods to determine associations between answers. Results: Although only 16.6% of participants responded that they were considering a career in transplantation, 63.4% answered that the skill sets acquired during this rotation would assist them in their surgical careers regardless of their chosen specialty. Most (65.5%) respondents answered that the techniques learned were directly applicable to other specialties, such as vascular, urologic, trauma, and hepatobiliary surgery. Free response questions indicated that the most common criticisms of this rotation were the limited amount of operative participation, lack of teaching by attendings, and lifestyle limitations. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that surgery residents are conflicted regarding their transplant surgery experience but regard it as a beneficial addition to their training. Most respondents indicated also that these skills were transferable directly to other surgical specialties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-384
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) initiatives
  • general surgery resident education
  • residency training requirements
  • transplant surgery rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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