Experience in Rural Setting Associated with Increases Likelihood Residents Will Practice General Surgery There

Experience in a rural setting for fourth-year surgery residents was associated with the increased likelihood that they would practice general surgery in a similar location despite initial plans to specialize, according to a report published in JAMA Surgery, a JAMA Network publication.

Surgical residents increasingly choose not to become rural general surgeons but instead remain in urban or metropolitan practices and opt to specialize.

Karen Deveney, M.D., of the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Portland, and colleagues analyzed the records of 70 surgical residents who completed the general surgical residency at OHSU and entered practice since the rural rotation began in 2002. Residents were divided into those completing the rural surgery program (rural) and those who did not (other).

According to the study results, residents who completed the rural year were more likely to enter general surgery practice (10 of 11) than those who did not (28 of 59). They were also more likely to practice in a site of population less than 50,000. Most residents who completed the rural year (6 of 11) entered residency with a desire to practice general surgery. Of the residents who entered training with a specialty career in mind, 4 of 5 who completed the rural year are practicing general surgery, while 13 of 45 who stayed at OHSU’s university program for the entire 5 years are in general surgery practice.

“In our study, we demonstrated that our rural residency year can increase the likelihood that a general surgery resident will choose to practice in a rural area or town of less than 50,000,” the authors conclude.

JAMA Surgery. Published online July 3, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.2681.