Informed Consent Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology: A Survey Study

Katie Propst, David M. O'Sullivan, Amanda Ulrich, Elena Tunitsky-Bitton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The practice of obstetrics and gynecology poses specific ethical challenges for informed consent (IC). Data regarding resident confidence with the IC process are lacking. Our objective was to evaluate obstetrics and gynecology residents’ education, experience, and confidence related to IC. DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional survey of obstetrics and gynecology residents. Descriptive analyses were performed using mean and standard deviation or frequency expressed as a percentage. The results were analyzed for statistical significance using chi-square or Fisher's exact tests for categorical variables and Student t or Mann-Whitney U tests, as appropriate, for continuous variables; all results yielding p < 0.05 were deemed statistically significant. SETTING: Electronic survey. RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-one trainees completed the survey. The majority of participants were female (84.3%) and from an academic training program (65.1%). Two hundred seventy-seven trainees (98.6%) reported that they had obtained IC for operating room procedures; the majority had first done this in the first postgraduate year (PGY) (n = 258, 91.8%). Trainees most commonly obtain IC for resident and general gynecology attending cases. Most trainees primarily learn how to obtain IC via observation of their coresidents and attendings. Nearly 90% of trainees have obtained IC for a procedure for which they were unsure of all the risks. One hundred seventy-three trainees (61.6%) reported that they would like to have more training in IC. Increasing PGY was significantly associated with increasing confidence in obtaining IC for gynecologic, obstetric, and office procedures (all p < 0.01). There were no differences based on PGY in frequency of reviewing who will perform the surgical procedure (p = 0.75), how trainees will be involved in the procedure (p = 0.35), review of alternative treatments (p = 0.91), or in documentation of the IC process (p = 0.16). CONCLUSIONS: Based on the findings of this survey study, education related to the IC process is warranted and curriculum development should be the focus of future study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1146-1152
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Patient Care
  • communication
  • consent forms
  • gynecologic surgery
  • informed consent
  • medical education
  • physician-patient relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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