Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented concerns on the safety, well-being, quality of life(QOL), and training of the orthopedic resident physician workforce worldwide. Although orthopedic residency programs across the globe have attempted to redefine resident roles, educational priorities, and teaching methods, the global orthopedic residents’ perspective with regards to their safety, well-being, QOL, and training, taking into account regional variances remains unknown. Methods: A 56-item-questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey was conducted online during the COVID-19 pandemic involving 1193 orthopedic residents from 29 countries across six geographical regions to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the well-being, safety, and training of orthopedic residents at a global level, as well as to analyze the challenges confronted by orthopedic residency programs around the world to safeguard and train their resident workforce during this period. Results: The total response rate was 90.3%(1077/1193). Time spent on residency-training activities decreased by 24.7 h/week (95% CI, −26.5 to −22.9,p < 0.001), with 50.2% (n = 541) residents performing duties outside their residency curriculum. 80.5% (n = 869) residents had no prior experience working in infectious outbreaks. A greater percentage of residents from Middle East, Asia and Europe were redeployed to the COVID-19 frontlines, p < 0.001. Only 46.5% (n = 491) and 58.4% (n = 600) of residents underwent training in critical care or PPE (Personal Protective equipment) usage, respectively; 28.5% (n = 302) residents (majority from Africa, Middle East, South America) reported lack of institutional guidelines to handle infectious outbreaks; 15.4% (n = 160) residents (majority from Africa, Asia, Europe) had concerns regarding availability of PPE and risk of infection. An increase in technology-based virtual teaching modalities was observed. The most significant stressor for residents was the concern for their family's health. Residents' QOL significantly decreased from 80/100 (IQR 70–90) to 65/100 (IQR 50–80) before and during the pandemic, p < 0.001. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the safety, well-being, QOL, and training of the global orthopedic resident physician workforce to different extents across geographical regions. The findings of this study will aid educators, program leaderships, and policy makers globally in formulating flexible, generalizable, and sustainable strategies to ensure resident safety, well-being, and training, while maintaining patient care.
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