‘Training the SAGES trainers’: A step toward raising the bar in the educational value of the hands-on course experience?

Susannah M Wyles1, Erin Schwarz2, Jonathan Dort3, Nabil Tariq4, Tom Cecil5, Mark G Coleman6, John T Paige7, Brian J Dunkin4. 1UCSF, 2SAGES, 3Inova, VA, 4MITIE, Houston, 5Basingstoke, 6Derriford, UK, 7LSU

Introduction: Hands-on courses are expensive to deliver, are costly for delegates to attend, and thus the educational value should be maximized. There is no prerequisite teaching qualification to mentor on SAGES hands-on courses(SAGES-HOC), just the need to be technically proficient. The Lapco-TT, a teaching course for surgeons, has been delivered successfully in the UK and US, with a demonstrable positive impact on both delegates’ teaching ability and their learners’ learning curves. The aims of this study were to determine if this curriculum could be delivered in a day course to SAGES trainers, and if these trainers could impact the educational experience delegates had at a subsequent SAGES-HOC.

Methods and Procedures: Six general surgeons attended the Lapco-TT course. The following day, trainees registered for a SAGES-HOC were split into two groups (A and B). Group A were taught by the Lapco-TT delegates, and Group B by the other SAGES trainers. Opinion surveys (5 point Likert scales) were completed by both the Lapco-TT delegates, and the SAGES-HOC delegates. Furthermore, the TT trainers were assessed by their delegates, by the Lapco-TT faculty and by themselves, using a previously validated teaching assessment (cSTTAR). Mean scores are reported and analyzed (non-parametric test (Mann-Whitney U) for the opinion surveys, and t test for the cSTTAR scores) (p<0.05).

Results: All 6 Lapco-TT delegates found the TT useful(5), felt that it would influence the way that they taught in the OR(4.83), that their course objectives were met(4.83) and that they would recommend the course to their colleagues(4.83). 10 HOC delegates were taught by the Group A trainers, and 22 by Group B. Delegates in Group A better understood what they were supposed to learn (5 vs.4.15[p=0.046]), and do (5 vs.4[p=0.046]), felt that the session was well organized (5 vs.4[p=0.046]), that time was used effectively(5 vs.3.9[p=0.046]), with sufficient(5 vs.3.9[p=0.028])  and effective feedback regarding their performance on the course(5 vs.3.95[p=0.028]) compared to Group B. Group A trainers were rated significantly higher by their delegates than Group B trainers on the cSTTAR training assessments (p<0.0005). Group A trainers rated themselves significantly lower than both the expert observers (p<0.0005) and when compared to the Group B trainers’ self-assessment (p<0.002).

Conclusions: The Lapco-TT course can be delivered effectively over one day to impact the educational experience of learners at a SAGES-HOC. This could help set a new gold standard for the quality of SAGES mentors and thereby increase the value of such SAGES-HOC. 

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