Purpose: To evaluate the self-assessed competency of graduating residents (GRs) in Japan upon completion of their residency and to identify the gap between their competency and the competency expected by their program directors (PDs). Method: A list of 31 essential surgical procedures was compiled according to the consensus of surgical educators from around the country. A survey with this list was sent to all 909 GRs and their 611 PDs in 2016. The GRs rated their competency to perform these procedures and the PDs were asked to evaluate the expected competency of their GRs using the Zwisch Scale. Result: The response rate was 56.3% for the GRs and 76.8% for the PDs. Fewer than half of the GRs who responded felt confident performing ten (32%) of the surgical procedures evaluated. For most procedures, the GRs’ self-reported competency was lower than the expectation reported by their PDs. This gap was more than 10% for 13 of the procedures. Conclusion: More than half of the GRs in Japan lacked the confidence in their skill to perform one-third of the surgical procedures selected for evaluation in this study. These findings should be used to update the surgical education curriculum in Japan.
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