Residents: Will They Ever Pay Off Medical School Debt?

Carol Peckham


August 05, 2014

In This Article

Resident Relationships With Attendings and Other Colleagues

Attendings and Supervision

Nearly all male and female residents reported a good to excellent relationship with their attendings (94% of men and 96% of women). Thirty-five percent of women reported an excellent relationship, compared with 29% of men. Among the write-in responses from the few who reported a "fair" or "poor" relationship, most complaints centered on individual personalities rather than on any general issue.

The great majority of both male and female residents who responded (86% and 88%, respectively) believed that there was an appropriate balance between independence and supervision. A 2013 study supported these responses and found that over 90% of residents judged their supervision as adequate or above average.[25] Of interest, in the Medscape survey, the percentage of residents reporting too much supervision increased from 7% in year three to 14% in year four. This may suggest that by the fourth year, residents are feeling much more confident about their capabilities.

Nurses and PAs

When asked about relationships with nurses and physician assistants, there was very little difference in the opinions of male and female residents, with 62% of women and 66% of men saying that their relationships were good to excellent. The most common write-in complaint among residents with poorer relationships was the lack of respect paid to them by nurses. A small study of pairs of residents and nurses found a lack of shared perception and expectations. Nurses in particular considered themselves to be more autonomous than residents did. The study authors concluded that leadership was necessary, but only if the leader or both members of a pair had sufficient autonomy. They also observed that the present generation of residents and nurses may be open to models of interdisciplinary interactions that are more positive and collaborative than in previous decades.[29]


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