Influence of Student Loan Debt on General Surgery Resident Career and Lifestyle Decision-Making

Surgery Educators Workgroup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The average medical school debt in 2011 was $170,000, and by 2017 it increased to $190,000. High debt burden has been shown to affect career choices for residents in primary care specialties; however, it has not been well studied among surgical residents. The purpose of this multi-institutional study was to assess the amount of debt among general surgery residents and its effects on their career and lifestyle decisions. Study Design: Surveys were distributed to 607 categorical general surgery residents at 19 different residency programs. Degree of debt was assessed and responses compared. Results: Overall, 427 (70.3%) residents completed the survey, 317 (74.2%) of whom reported having student loan debt. Of those with debt, 262 (82.6%) believed that repaying debt was a significant financial burden in residency, 248 (78.3%) thought it would remain a burden after residency, 210 (66.2%) believed their debt would influence their future job choice, and 225 (71%) thought their debt would delay their ability to buy a home. Debt did not affect decisions to get married or have children. There were 109 (25.6%) residents with no debt, 131 (30.8%) with <$200,000, 103 (24.2%) with $200,000 to $300,000, and 83 (19.5%) with >$300,000. Residents with high debt were less likely to feel financially secure now (p < 0.0001) and when thinking about their future (p < 0.0001). They also had higher minimum starting salary goals (p = 0.002) and were less likely to have had assistance paying for their education (p = 0.0001). Conclusions: Surgical residents believe their debt is a significant financial burden. Furthermore, high debt significantly influences their financial security, practice location, and salary goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Volume230
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020

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Training Support
Internship and Residency
Life Style
Decision Making
Salaries and Fringe Benefits
Career Choice
Aptitude
Medical Schools
Primary Health Care
Education
Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this

Influence of Student Loan Debt on General Surgery Resident Career and Lifestyle Decision-Making. / Surgery Educators Workgroup.

In: Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Vol. 230, No. 2, 02.2020, p. 173-181.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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title = "Influence of Student Loan Debt on General Surgery Resident Career and Lifestyle Decision-Making",
abstract = "Background: The average medical school debt in 2011 was $170,000, and by 2017 it increased to $190,000. High debt burden has been shown to affect career choices for residents in primary care specialties; however, it has not been well studied among surgical residents. The purpose of this multi-institutional study was to assess the amount of debt among general surgery residents and its effects on their career and lifestyle decisions. Study Design: Surveys were distributed to 607 categorical general surgery residents at 19 different residency programs. Degree of debt was assessed and responses compared. Results: Overall, 427 (70.3{\%}) residents completed the survey, 317 (74.2{\%}) of whom reported having student loan debt. Of those with debt, 262 (82.6{\%}) believed that repaying debt was a significant financial burden in residency, 248 (78.3{\%}) thought it would remain a burden after residency, 210 (66.2{\%}) believed their debt would influence their future job choice, and 225 (71{\%}) thought their debt would delay their ability to buy a home. Debt did not affect decisions to get married or have children. There were 109 (25.6{\%}) residents with no debt, 131 (30.8{\%}) with <$200,000, 103 (24.2{\%}) with $200,000 to $300,000, and 83 (19.5{\%}) with >$300,000. Residents with high debt were less likely to feel financially secure now (p < 0.0001) and when thinking about their future (p < 0.0001). They also had higher minimum starting salary goals (p = 0.002) and were less likely to have had assistance paying for their education (p = 0.0001). Conclusions: Surgical residents believe their debt is a significant financial burden. Furthermore, high debt significantly influences their financial security, practice location, and salary goals.",
author = "{Surgery Educators Workgroup} and Kelsey Gray and Kaji, {Amy H.} and Mary Wolfe and Kristine Calhoun and Farin Amersi and Timothy Donahue and Smith, {Brian R.} and Salcedo, {Edgardo S.} and Kenric Murayama and {de Virgilio}, Christian and Angela Neville and Tracey Arnell and Benjamin Jarman and Kenji Inaba and Marc Melcher and Morris, {Jon B.} and Mark Reeves and Jeffrey Gauvin and Richard Sidwell and Richard Damewood and Poola, {V. Prasad} and Daniel Dent",
year = "2020",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2019.10.016",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "230",
pages = "173--181",
journal = "Journal of the American College of Surgeons",
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T1 - Influence of Student Loan Debt on General Surgery Resident Career and Lifestyle Decision-Making

AU - Surgery Educators Workgroup

AU - Gray, Kelsey

AU - Kaji, Amy H.

AU - Wolfe, Mary

AU - Calhoun, Kristine

AU - Amersi, Farin

AU - Donahue, Timothy

AU - Smith, Brian R.

AU - Salcedo, Edgardo S.

AU - Murayama, Kenric

AU - de Virgilio, Christian

AU - Neville, Angela

AU - Arnell, Tracey

AU - Jarman, Benjamin

AU - Inaba, Kenji

AU - Melcher, Marc

AU - Morris, Jon B.

AU - Reeves, Mark

AU - Gauvin, Jeffrey

AU - Sidwell, Richard

AU - Damewood, Richard

AU - Poola, V. Prasad

AU - Dent, Daniel

PY - 2020/2

Y1 - 2020/2

N2 - Background: The average medical school debt in 2011 was $170,000, and by 2017 it increased to $190,000. High debt burden has been shown to affect career choices for residents in primary care specialties; however, it has not been well studied among surgical residents. The purpose of this multi-institutional study was to assess the amount of debt among general surgery residents and its effects on their career and lifestyle decisions. Study Design: Surveys were distributed to 607 categorical general surgery residents at 19 different residency programs. Degree of debt was assessed and responses compared. Results: Overall, 427 (70.3%) residents completed the survey, 317 (74.2%) of whom reported having student loan debt. Of those with debt, 262 (82.6%) believed that repaying debt was a significant financial burden in residency, 248 (78.3%) thought it would remain a burden after residency, 210 (66.2%) believed their debt would influence their future job choice, and 225 (71%) thought their debt would delay their ability to buy a home. Debt did not affect decisions to get married or have children. There were 109 (25.6%) residents with no debt, 131 (30.8%) with <$200,000, 103 (24.2%) with $200,000 to $300,000, and 83 (19.5%) with >$300,000. Residents with high debt were less likely to feel financially secure now (p < 0.0001) and when thinking about their future (p < 0.0001). They also had higher minimum starting salary goals (p = 0.002) and were less likely to have had assistance paying for their education (p = 0.0001). Conclusions: Surgical residents believe their debt is a significant financial burden. Furthermore, high debt significantly influences their financial security, practice location, and salary goals.

AB - Background: The average medical school debt in 2011 was $170,000, and by 2017 it increased to $190,000. High debt burden has been shown to affect career choices for residents in primary care specialties; however, it has not been well studied among surgical residents. The purpose of this multi-institutional study was to assess the amount of debt among general surgery residents and its effects on their career and lifestyle decisions. Study Design: Surveys were distributed to 607 categorical general surgery residents at 19 different residency programs. Degree of debt was assessed and responses compared. Results: Overall, 427 (70.3%) residents completed the survey, 317 (74.2%) of whom reported having student loan debt. Of those with debt, 262 (82.6%) believed that repaying debt was a significant financial burden in residency, 248 (78.3%) thought it would remain a burden after residency, 210 (66.2%) believed their debt would influence their future job choice, and 225 (71%) thought their debt would delay their ability to buy a home. Debt did not affect decisions to get married or have children. There were 109 (25.6%) residents with no debt, 131 (30.8%) with <$200,000, 103 (24.2%) with $200,000 to $300,000, and 83 (19.5%) with >$300,000. Residents with high debt were less likely to feel financially secure now (p < 0.0001) and when thinking about their future (p < 0.0001). They also had higher minimum starting salary goals (p = 0.002) and were less likely to have had assistance paying for their education (p = 0.0001). Conclusions: Surgical residents believe their debt is a significant financial burden. Furthermore, high debt significantly influences their financial security, practice location, and salary goals.

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