Surgical Coaching for Performance Enhancement

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Surgical coaching offers an innovative approach to nonstop professional development and performance enhancement that can be evaluated throughout one’s career. In surgery, coaching is a cooperation between a trained surgeon trainer and a surgeon with self identified aims that are pursued through cooperative analysis and formative feedback.

There are two primary types of surgical coaching expert coaching and peer coaching. Expert coaching is when the surgeon trainer imparts a new skill or knowledge to the surgeon being counseled. Peer coaching is when the two surgeons have a analogous position of experience and information, and engage in a cooperative literacy process.

The effectiveness of expert surgical coaching has been demonstrated for medical scholars, residents and rehearsing surgeons. Medical scholars performed virtual reality and porcine laparoscopic cholecystectomies with the intervention group entering video-based surgical coaching by an expert laparoscopic surgeon. The coached medical scholars outperformed the control medical students in all three global rating scores used, although the coached scholars took longer to operate. The study demonstrated that coaching is effective for novice surgeons in a simulation environment but requires increased time.

Peer coaching works well for surgeons in independent practice. An evidence-based peer coaching program was lately enforced in the state of Wisconsin. Participant surgeons were signed via an e-mail from the state surgical society, received an information primer, and passed one-hour online orientation. Coaching sessions were also held and were directed by the participant’s aims. While there were challenges with audio-video data capture and the time needed, both the trainer and participant surgeons plant the coaching program to be largely precious.

The use of cooperative analysis and self-reflection in surgical coaching represents a paradigm shift in surgical education, providing an evidence-based approach to continued professional development that can lead to practice change.


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