The current state of resident trauma training: Are we losing a generation?

The current state of resident trauma training: Are we losing a generation?

Can J Surg 2018;61(3):153-154 | Full Text | PDF

Paul T. Engels, MD; Nori L. Bradley, MD, MSc; Chad G. Ball, MD, MSc


General surgeons provide life-saving trauma care to a large portion of Canadians. Although trauma care has evolved significantly over the last few decades and now requires fewer operations, when a life-saving operation is required the expectation of competence to perform this operation has not been reduced. A recent study from the United States found decreased resident case-log volumes of trauma operations. Such findings raise the alarm of declining exposure of residents to trauma operations and beg the question of whether graduating residents are competent to care for trauma patients. Examination of the Canadian setting reveals a dearth of published information about the actual exposure of Canadian general surgery residents to trauma care. With the forthcoming evolution of general surgery education into competency-based medical education, we sound a call to action to ensure that all graduating general surgeons are able to provide the care that both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Canadian public demand.

This manuscript was presented in part, in oral form, at the Canadian Surgery Forum, Sept. 16, 2017, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Accepted Oct. 20, 2017; Published online Apr. 1, 2018

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont. (Engels); the Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (Bradley); and the Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alta. (Ball).

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this article and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.014417

Correspondence to: P.T. Engels, Hamilton General Hospital, 6 North Wing, Rm 616, 237 Barton St East, Hamilton ON L8L 2X2,