Progressive Autonomy in the Era of Increased Supervision: AOA Critical Issues

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The observation of decreased resident autonomy, ultimately influencing the readiness of a new graduate to practice, has been supported with a number of recent surveys. This perceived lack of autonomy is felt to be due, in part, to many reasons, including duty-hour regulations, increased supervision requirements, patient safety measures, concern for complication rates, and other performance measures. Pressure on faculty members to have increased clinical productivity may not allow for more resident autonomy.


Increased clinical exposure to improve resident independence may come from several suggested areas. First, restructuring the residency program to allow for more clinical time may be one way to improve education. Second, increased use of surgical simulation will allow for more experience to develop technical skills within a controlled environment. Surgical simulators can be used to acquire new skills and also as a means of assessing competence. Third, competency-based education (CBE) has been offered as a way to improve resident education. At its core, CBE offers criterion-based assessments for residents and faculty that allow for more frequent feedback.

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