HealthDay News — Surgical residents feel strongly that personal financial education should be offered during medical training, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Sarah E. Tevis, M.D., from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues surveyed 105 surgical trainees at a single academic center regarding issues related to debt, equity, cash flow, financial education, and fiscal parameters. Debt-to-asset and debt-to-income ratios were calculated and characterized as moderate-risk debt-to-asset ratio (0.5 to 0.9), high-risk debt-to-asset ratio (≥0.9), and high-risk debt-to-income ratio (>0.4).
The researchers found that 38 percent of respondents reported greater than $200,000 in educational debt. The majority of respondents (82 percent) had a moderate- or high-risk debt-to-asset ratio. There was no correlation between residency program, year, sex, or perception of financial knowledge with high-risk debt-to-asset ratio. Compared with residents who had low debt-to-asset ratios, residents with high debt-to-asset ratios were more likely to have a high level of concern about debt (52 versus 0 percent). More than three-quarters of respondents (79 percent) felt strongly that additional financial training in residency education is critically needed.
“In a climate of increasingly delayed financial gratification, surgical trainees are on critically unstable financial footing,” the authors write. “There is a major gap in current surgical education that requires reassessment for the long-term financial health of residents.”