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Am J Surg. 2010 Apr;199(4):571-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.04.007. Epub 2010 Jan 22.

Moral angst for surgical residents: a qualitative study.

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1
Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The ethical dilemmas that residents experience throughout their training have not been explored qualitatively from surgical residents' perspectives.

METHODS:

Grounded theory methodology was used. All University of Toronto surgical, otolaryngology, and obstetrics and gynecology residents were invited to participate. Twenty-eight face-to-face interviews were conducted. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed by 3 reviewers.

RESULTS:

Five encompassing themes emerged: (1) residents prefer operating with another resident while the staff watches; (2) residents felt that patients were rarely well informed about their role; (3) residents develop good relationships with patients; (4) residents felt ethically obliged to disclose intraoperative errors; and (5) residents experience ethical distress in certain teaching circumstances.

CONCLUSIONS:

Residents encounter ethical dilemmas leading to moral angst during their surgical training and need to feel safe to discuss these openly. Staff and residents should work together to establish optimal communication and teaching situations.

PMID:
20096822
DOI:
10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.04.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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