The Promise and Problems of Non-Physician Practitioners in General Surgery Education: Results of a Multi-Center, Mixed-Methods Study of Faculty
Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants – called non-physician practitioners or NPPs – are common, but little is known about their educational promise and problems.
General surgery faculty in 13 residency programs were surveyed (N = 279 with a 71% response rate) and interviewed (N = 43) about experiences with NPPs. The survey documents overall patterns and differences by program type and primary service; interviews point to deeper rationales and concerns.
NPPs reduce faculty and resident workloads and teach residents. NPPs also reduce resident exposure to educationally valuable activities, and faculty sometimes round, make decisions, and operate with NPPs instead of residents. Interviews indicate that NPPs can overly reduce resident involvement in patient care, diminish resident responsibility and decision making, disrupt team dynamics, and compete for procedures.
NPPs both enhance and hinder surgical education and highlight the need to more clearly articulate learning outcomes for residents and activities necessary to achieve those outcomes.
Coverdill, J. E.,
Shelton, J. S.,
Borgstrom, D. C.,
Dent, D. L.,
Hartranft, T. H.,
Holsten, S. B.,
Nelson, M. T.,
Shabahang, M. M.,
Sherman, S. R.,
Termuhlen, P. M.,
Woods, R. J.,
& Mellinger, J.
(2018). The Promise and Problems of Non-Physician Practitioners in General Surgery Education: Results of a Multi-Center, Mixed-Methods Study of Faculty. American Journal of Surgery, 215 (2), 222-226.