Instructional methods of attendings as exhibited during intraoperative takeovers: A pilot study

Published:March 26, 2021DOI:



      This pilot study examined intraoperative instructional techniques during “takeovers,” defined as the act of an attending taking control of a case from a resident. This work describes what happens during takeovers and identifies possible reasons for takeovers.


      Intraoperative audio-video recordings during 25 laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair procedures were collected. Participants included 2 postgraduate year–5 residents and 5 attendings. Postoperative evaluation forms were completed by attendings. Coding schemes for takeovers during hernia reduction and mesh placement steps were developed using conventional and directed content analysis in an iterative process by study team members, including individuals with expertise in education, surgery, and surgical education.


      Takeovers occurred in 72% of cases. Frequency of takeovers was not related to case difficulty or differences in resident technical skill levels, nor did they decrease over the duration of the 2-month rotation. Takeovers most commonly occurred when a resident struggled to progress the case. They also occurred when anatomy was unclear or when the attending wanted to teach a specific skill. Differences were identified among attendings regarding frequency of takeovers. The majority of takeover behaviors were directed at instructing residents; however, attendings’ teaching techniques did not vary by resident.


      Attending teaching habits appear to be independent of resident skills and depend on the attending’s teaching style rather than residents’ learning needs. Findings highlight the need for faculty development to help surgical educators learn how to tailor instruction to individual trainees. Additionally, future research is needed to establish the effectiveness of instruction through takeovers in the operating room.
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