Competency-based education in general surgery: Are Canadian residents ready?

Competency-based education in general surgery: Are Canadian residents ready?

Can J Surg 2021;64(5):E473-E475 | PDF | Appendix

Gabrielle Gauvin, MD, MS; Kathryn Hay, MD; Wilma Hopman, MA; Scott Hurton, MD, MSc; Stephanie Lim, MD; Boris Zevin, MD, PhD; Diederick Jalink, MD; Sulaiman Nanji, MD, PhD


Competency-based education (CBE) is currently being implemented by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada across all residency programs. This shift away from time-based residency is proposed to be the answer to maximize training opportunity in the era of work hour restrictions and growing concerns regarding accountability in medical education. A Web-based survey was conducted to obtain feedback from Canadian general surgery residents on their experience and perception of competence within core procedures, as well as attitudes toward CBE. A total of 244 residents completed the survey. For most procedures, more than 50% of residents felt they could perform the procedure with no guidance after completing 11–30 cases. Generally, residents were welcoming of CBE; however, medium-sized programs reported some concerns regarding inadequate exposure to cases and risk of training less well-rounded surgeons. This is valuable resident feedback for programs to consider during the implementation process.

Accepted Nov. 5, 2020

This paper was presented at the Canadian Surgery Forum.

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont. (Gauvin, Hay, Zevin, Jalink, Nanji); the Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont. (Hopman); the Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man. (Hurton, Lim); and the Department of Surgery, CISSS de l’Outaouais, Gatineau, Que. (Gauvin).

Funding: The study was funded internally by the Department of Surgery, Queen’s University.

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.

Content licence: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original publication is properly cited, the use is noncommercial (i.e., research or educational use), and no modifications or adaptations are made. See:

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.011520

Correspondence to: S. Nanji, Burr 2 Room 076, Kingston General Hospital, 76 Stuart St, Kingston ON K7L 2V7,