Rural Plastic Surgery: An important element in resident education
Andrew Liechty, BS1; Dr. Joseph Meyerson, MD2; Dr. Ernest Manders, MD3
1WSU ESFCOM, Everett, WA, USA, 2Port Townsend, WA, USA, 3University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Background: Rural America is in a healthcare crisis as rural hospitals across the country are shutting down. The distance patients must travel to receive proper healthcare has been steadily increasing. Most medical students and residents do not have the opportunity to witness rural surgical care, especially rural specialty surgical care such as plastic and reconstructive surgery (PRS). The Rural Plastic Surgery Rotation in Coos Bay, OR was designed to give residents an opportunity to gain this exposure. We surveyed the 7 residents who participated in this program and present their responses
Methods: Our primary method of data collection was a survey collected through Qualtrics research software (Provo, Utah). The survey consisted of 48 questions broken down into 4 sections compromising Demographics, Medical Experience in Coos Bay, Living in a Small Town, and Overall Impression of the program. The questions were a mixture of Yes/No, Likert Scales, and narrative responses
Results: We had 7/7 responses and overall participants had a favorable impression of the program and found it worthwhile. 6/7 were extremely satisfied with the educational value and training. 6 produced papers, presentations or other academic materials related to their experience. 6 noted that the rotation influenced their future desire to participate in a rural plastic surgery practice. Residents noted that the rotation was ‘hand surgery heavy’ and were impressed that one surgeon was responsible for a wide variety of surgical care vs having multiple sub specialists. 6 respondents felt that they could ‘definitely’ earn a living in a rural practice
Conclusion: Rural surgery is an area that many PRS residents do not have exposure to within typical academic training centers and is a growing crisis in American healthcare. Our survey highlights the experience of 7 PRS residents after a rural rotation in Coos Bay, OR. Overall the program had a positive influence on their desire to practice in a rural setting. A rotation in a rural plastic surgery practice is an important opportunity for PRS residents to gain exposure to an underserved area of medicine where their skills can have a major impact.
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