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Vacuum and forceps training in residency: experience and self-reported competency



Determine chief residents' experience with vacuum and forceps deliveries and self-perceived competencies with the procedures.

Study Design:

Study 1: A written questionnaire was mailed to all fourth year residents in US RRC approved Ob/Gyn programs. Study 2: The study was replicated using a web-based survey the following year. Data were analyzed with χ2 and Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests using SPSS.


Surveys were received from 238 residents (20%) in Study 1 and 269 residents in Study 2 (23%, representing 50% of all residency programs). In both studies, residents reported performing significantly less forceps than vacuum deliveries. Virtually all residents wanted to learn to perform both deliveries, indicated attendings were willing to teach both, and felt competent to perform vacuum deliveries (Study 1, 94.5%; Study 2, 98.5%); only half felt competent to perform forceps deliveries (Study 1, 57.6%; Study 2, 55.0%). The majority of residents who felt competent to perform forceps deliveries reported that they would predominately use forceps or both methods of deliveries in their practice (Study 1, 75.8%; Study 2, 64.6%). The majority of residents who reported that they did not feel competent to perform forceps deliveries reported that they would predominately use vacuum deliveries in their practice (Study 1, 86.1%; Study 2, 84.2%).


Current training results in a substantial portion of residents graduating who do not feel competent to perform forceps deliveries. Perceived competency affected future operative delivery plans.

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Funding was provided by the Akron General Development Foundation.

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Correspondence to J P Lavin.

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Powell, J., Gilo, N., Foote, M. et al. Vacuum and forceps training in residency: experience and self-reported competency. J Perinatol 27, 343–346 (2007).

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