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A national qualitative study of surgical coaching: Opportunities and barriers for colorectal surgeons

Published:April 27, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surg.2022.03.015

      Abstract

      Background

      Surgical coaching interventions have been recommended as a method of technological skills improvement for individual surgeons and lifelong occupational learning. Patient outcomes for laparoscopic colectomy vary significantly based on surgeon experience and case volume. As surgical coaching is an emerging area, little is known about how surgeons view coaching interventions.

      Methods

      Semistructured interviews with 68 colorectal surgeons from across the country who were e-mail recruited from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons focused on exploring the attitudes surrounding surgical coaching programs among colorectal surgeons. Interviews were performed via telephone, audio-recorded, and transcribed verbatim with redaction of identifying information. Interviews were analyzed by iterative steps informed by thematic analysis.

      Results

      Surgeons reported the desire to participate in coaching programs to improve patient outcomes through technical skill advancement, to keep pace with surgical innovation, and to fulfill a desire for lifelong learning. However, surgeons varied in their beliefs over who should be coached, who should coach, the format of coaching, and the topics addressed in coaching. Obstacles identified included time, financial and medicolegal concerns, balance with resident education, and vulnerability.

      Conclusion

      Widespread enthusiasm for surgical coaching programs exists among colorectal surgeons. However, there is variability in what surgeons believe an ideal surgical coaching program would look like. Therefore, in alignment with adult learning theory, we recommend the creation of several different models of surgical coaching to allow each surgeon to benefit from this advancement in continuous professional development.
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