Surgical education in the new millennium: The military perspective

Mark W. Bowyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The military has a rich tradition of over 50 years of training surgical house officers through excellent residency programs. Many of the graduates of military residencies occupy positions of prominence in the surgical community. The traditional strengths of military training programs have been high-quality applicants; a grateful and compliant patient population with a wide variety of pathology; early and significant responsibility; involvement in all phases of the patients care; and dedicated, available, and well trained teaching faculty. Several challenges are affecting both civilian and military residency training, including work-hour restrictions and decreased numbers and quality of applicants to surgery programs. The unique requirements of military training add to this burden, and the continued downsizing of military facilities has negatively affected caseloads, but has not affected the quality of surgical trainees. As long as armed conflict continues in the world, there will be a need for military surgeons, who are best trained in military residencies. It is in the nation's best interest to produce high-quality, responsible physicians for the care of future generations of Americans, both in the Armed Forces and out. Unless there are strong continuing military residency programs, we shall, at worst, not have a Medical Corps, or at best, a substandard one to care for those in harm's way. The graduates of military residencies will and do serve this country as practitioners, educators, and researchers, whether in or out of uniform. Surgical residency programs in the military must continue and must survive in this new millennium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1453-1470
Number of pages18
JournalSurgical Clinics of North America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


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