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J Surg Educ. 2014 Jan-Feb;71(1):119-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

The role of the nonphysician educator in general surgery residency training: from outcome project and duty-hours restrictions to the next accreditation system and milestones.

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Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee. Electronic address:
Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.
Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.



In 2002 and 2003 the ACGME Outcome Project (assessing residents based on competencies) and duty-hours restrictions were implemented. One strategy for assisting PDs in the increased workload was to hire nonphysician educators with training and experience in curriculum design, teaching techniques, adult learning theories, and research methods. This study sought to document prevalence and responsibilities of nonphysician educators.


IRB approval was received for a two-part study. All 247 general surgery PDs were e-mailed the question, "Do you have a nonphysician educator as a member of your surgery education office?" Those who replied "yes" or volunteered "not currently but in the past" were e-mailed a link to an electronic survey concerning the role of the nonphysician educator.


Residency training programs in general surgery.


General surgery program directors.


Of the 126 PDs who responded to the initial query, 37 said "yes" and 4 replied "not currently but in the past". Thirty-two PDs of the initial 41 respondents completed the survey. Significant findings included: 65% were hired in the last 6 years; faculty rank is held by 69%; and curriculum development was the most common responsibility but teaching, research, and administrative duties were often listed. PDs perceived that faculty, residents, and medical students had mostly positive attitudes towards nonphysician educators.


The overall results seem to support the notion that nonphysician educators serve as vital members of the team.


Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; Professionalism; nonphysician educator; surgery education; surgical education; surgical residency; surgical residency education

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