General thoracic surgery workforce: training, migration and practice profile in Brazil

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This study is aimed at drawing the profile of the Brazilian general thoracic surgeon. This experience has been fruitful in other areas, helping attract manpower and to better serve the interests of other Societies. This is the first survey of this kind in Brazil and in Latin America.


An electronic invitation was sent to the members of the Brazilian Society of Thoracic Surgery to answer a web-based questionnaire and physicians potentially practising thoracic surgery, with 82 questions including demographic data, medical education, training in general and thoracic surgery, continued professional education, practice profile, research activities and certifications, participation in medical societies, income/compensation and career satisfaction. Quantitative and qualitative analyses are presented.


The estimated level of participation was 82% (468). The mean age of the active general thoracic surgeon is 43.2 (range 45.3 ± 11.4) years. Women comprised 8% (37) of respondents, and 60% (277) of the participants had graduated from public medical schools. Four states nationwide trained 88% (391) of the thoracic surgeons. Only 32% (149) of the surgeons work exclusively with thoracic surgery. The public health system is the main provider of income for thoracic surgeons. Only 11 of 27 states have an adequate, although poorly distributed, number of thoracic surgeons.


Although Brazil has a reasonable number of general thoracic surgeons, inequalities in their distribution through the country arise as one of the most concerning problems of the speciality. The results of this study show that leadership actions and consistent government policies are required to improve work conditions and provide efficient workforce planning.

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