Identifying Managerial Roles of General Surgery Coordinators: Making the Case for Utilization of a Standardized Job Description Framework

Brianne Leigh Nickel, Jessica Roof, Scott Dolejs, Jennifer N. Choi, Laura Torbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Residency coordinators are valuable members of the education leadership administration. In General Surgery, program directors must devote time to both their clinical practice and as the leader of the education program for surgical residents. With the introduction of competencies and the Next Accreditation System, the responsibilities of training programs have increased, with much of the necessary day to day management being driven by the residency coordinator. The purpose of this study was to identify the current roles of a residency coordinator in surgery to determine appropriate language for a standardized job description that accurately describes the responsibilities of a program coordinator. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: A survey was created and distributed via email to 317 general surgery program coordinators in programs with continued, initial, or pre-accreditation status by the ACGME in October–December 2017. Questions were asked about coordinator demographics, ADS involvement, and communication with program director, recruitment, and professional development. 223 coordinators (70%) completed the survey. RESULTS: Thirty-five percent of coordinators reported that their program director expects them to complete the annual ADS update in its entirety with a final review by the program director before submission, whereas 15% stated that the program director expects the program coordinator to input, update, and submit the annual ADS update without oversite from the program director. Fifty percent of program coordinators speak with their program director 2 to 4 days a week, whereas 38% speak with their program director daily. Eighty-nine percent of coordinators reported that their program directors trust them to make appropriate administrative decisions during scheduled or emergent absences. Sixty-nine percent of coordinators strongly agreed that they assist their program directors with collating and analyzing recruitment data post-recruitment season. Eighty-six percent of coordinators regularly participate in one or more professional development activities. Forty-six percent of coordinators stated that they oversee administrative staff in their office, division, or department. CONCLUSION: Given the current makeup of today's residency coordinator in general surgery programs, the need for baseline qualifications and a standardized job description allowing for recruitment and retention of a coordinator capable of managing a residency along with a program director. The data from our survey indicate that most coordinators currently perform tasks and take on responsibilities of a manager, but they hold current job descriptions that do not adequately reflect the role. The current proposed ACGME revisions state that there must be a program coordinator for a residency program, citing the coordinator as an integral member of the residency leadership team. Therefore, human resource departments need a job description that identifies level of responsibility, contribution, leadership, and management required of a program coordinator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e38-e46
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Professionalism
  • administrator
  • human resources
  • management
  • program coordinator
  • program director

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

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