Teaching Technical Skills for Surgery – How Can We Improve?

Trystan M Lewis, Mr, Rajesh Aggarwal, Mr, Ara Darzi, Professor. Imperial College London

 

 Introduction
Teaching technical skills is an obligation of all surgical trainers. It is vital that technical skills’ teaching is performed appropriately and effectively. However, it is not certain which methods are most effective for skills teaching, as it is difficult to objectively assess the quality. This study aims to evaluate the optimum methods for technical skills teaching, and develop a new assessment tool that allows objective assessment of teaching methods by surgical trainers.
Methods and procedures
The technical skills teaching methods of ten experienced surgical trainers were evaluated during a bariatric and a colorectal surgical masterclass using live porcine models. Teaching methods were assessed in three ways; by faculty self-assessment questionnaires, trainee assessment of faculty questionnaires and a new structured assessment tool developed to objectively assess the quality of teaching skills during practical sessions. Assessments were divided into knowledge, skill and attitude parameters and measured using a five point Likert scale.
Results
Teaching methods were assessed during one colorectal and one bariatric masterclass. Each masterclass contained five faculty members and thirty trainees.
There were no significant differences in quality of teaching for any parameter between the colorectal and bariatric faculty (p>0.05).
The colorectal faculty rated their performance significantly better than the trainees rated the faculty for explanation of technical skills (median 5 vs 4, p=0.037), length of time giving advice (median 4 vs 3, p= 0.014) and length of supervision during the procedure (median 4 vs 3, p=0.048). All other parameters demonstrated no significant difference between faculty self-assessment and trainee assessment of faculty (p>0.05)
The bariatric faculty rated their performance significantly better than the trainees rated the faculty for demonstration of technical skills (median 5 vs 4, p=0.016), time spent giving advice (median 5 vs 4, p=0.003) and time spent supervising (median 5 vs 4, p=0.011). All other parameters demonstrated no significant difference between faculty self-assessment and trainee assessment of faculty (p>0.05)
Conclusions
The ability to teach technical skills is a vital quality required by surgical trainers. It has previously not been clear which methods are most effective for teaching technical skills. This study demonstrates areas of technical skills teaching that could be improved. Quality of skills teaching can now be evaluated objectively, following the development of a new structured assessment tool for skills teaching.


Session Number: Poster – Poster Presentations
Program Number: P154
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