Background: Patients play a crucial role in surgical training, but little is known about the public's knowledge of general surgery training structure or opinion of resident assessment. Our aim was to evaluate the public's knowledge of general surgery training and assessment processes. Methods: We administered an anonymous, electronic survey to US adult panelists using SurveyGizmo. We used Dillman's Tailored Design Method to optimize response rate. Questions pertained to demographics, knowledge of general surgery training structure, and opinions regarding resident assessment. Outcome measures included public knowledge of the structure of general surgery residency and the perceptions of resident assessment. Univariate and multivariate statistics were used as appropriate. Results: Survey response rate was 93% (2005 of 2148). Respondents had nationally representative demographics. Most respondents had health insurance (87%). Sixty-one percent of respondents believed that 100% of hospitals trained residents. Age <40 years, Black race (odds ratio 1.48 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11–1.96]), working in a hospital/health care field (odds ratio 1.49 [95% CI 1.12–1.97]), and having a family member/close acquaintance working in a hospital/health care field (odds ratio 1.53 [95% CI .20–1.94]) were associated with this belief. There was a preference to obtain online information about medical training (30% television [TV] shows, 24% Internet searches, 5% social media). Eighty percent of respondents felt that resident self-assessment and patient assessment of residents was “important” or “essential” when considering readiness for independent practice. Conclusion: The US public has limited knowledge of general surgery training and competency assessment. Public educational strategies may help inform patients about the structure of training and assessment of trainees to improve engagement of these important stakeholders in surgical training.
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