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.
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.
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.
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.