Impact of a resident's sex on intraoperative entrustment of surgery trainees

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Abstract

Background:

Optimizing intraoperative education is critical for development of autonomous residents. Faculty decisions concerning intraoperative entrustment determine the degree to which a resident gains intraoperative responsibility. Accordingly, residents exhibit entrustable behaviors that further faculty entrustment in the operating room. Little empiric evidence exists evaluating how the sex of a resident influences faculty-resident decisions of entrustment. Studies involving perception-based measurements of autonomy report inequities for women residents. We sought to assess faculty behaviors in entrustment in relation to resident sex using OpTrust, a third-party objective measurement tool.

Methods:

From September 2015 to June 2017 at the University of Michigan, surgical cases were observed and entrustment behaviors were rated using OpTrust. Critical case sampling was used to generate variation in operation type, case difficulty, faculty-resident pairings, faculty experience, and the level of the resident's training. Independent sample t-tests were conducted to compare faculty entrustment scores, as well as resident entrustability scores.

Results:

A total of 56 faculty and 73 residents were observed across 223 surgical cases from 4 surgical specialties: general, plastic, thoracic, and vascular. There was no difference in faculty entrustment or entrustability scores between women and men (2.54 vs 2.35, P = .117 and 2.32 vs 2.22, P = .393, respectively).

Conclusion:

Using OpTrust scores, we found that a resident's sex does not appear to influence faculty entrustment in the OR. Faculty entrustment scores for women and men residents are similar across cases. This observation suggests that during the intraoperative interaction, faculty are not extending entrustment or opportunities for autonomy differently to women or men. Future research is needed to identify and measure perioperative elements that inform resident autonomy, which may contribute to inequities for women residents.

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