The fundamentals of resident dismissal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Residents have the rights and responsibilities of both students and employees. Dismissal of a resident from a training program is traumatic and has lasting repercussions for the program director, the faculty, the dismissed resident, and the residency. A review of English language literature was performed using PUBMED and OVID databases, using the search terms, resident dismissal, resident termination, student dismissal, student and resident evaluation, legal aspects of education, and remediation. The references of each publication were also reviewed to identify additional appropriate citations. If the Just Cause threshold has been met, educators have the absolute discretion to evaluate academic and clinical performance. Legal opinion has stated that it is not necessary to wait until a patient is harmed to dismiss a resident. Evaluations should be standard and robust. Negative evaluations are not defamatory as the resident gave consent to be evaluated. Provided departmental and institutional polices have been followed, a resident can be dismissed without a formal hearing. Residencies are entitled to modify academic requirements and dismissal is not considered a breach of contract. Although there is anxiety regarding resident dismissal, the courts have uniformly supported faculty having this role. When indicated, failure to dismiss a resident also places the program director and the faculty at risk for educational malpractice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-126
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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