Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Surgeons

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Peer Coaching for Surgical Development: Analysis of Attending Professional Fulfillment Scores in a Multi-institutional Coaching Program
Robert D Sinyard1, Augustus Gleason2, Steven Yule3, Douglas S Smink4
1Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; 2Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA; 3University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; 4Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

Peer surgical coaching has demonstrated promise for performance improvement and continued professional development. We sought to evaluate quantitatively the changes in surgeons’ professional fulfillment over the course of a peer coaching program.

Surgeons across 8 hospitals completed the Stanford professional fulfillment index (PFI) and a coach training program. Surgeons were assigned either “coach” or “coachee” roles. Each pair followed a defined coaching structure: preoperative goal setting, intraoperative observation, and postoperative debriefing. Following two coaching sessions, the surveys were repeated, including a net promoter score.

48 surgeons enrolled, of which 46 surgeons completed the pre-program PFI and 36 completed the post-program PFI. No significant changes were noted between measurements of professional fulfillment (p=0.76), work exhaustion (p=0.09), interpersonal disengagement (p=0.71), or medical error (p=0.78). Feedback gathered from 61 surgical coaching sessions demonstrated that surgeons perceive their emotional state during coaching as comfortable (39%), safe (23%), optimistic (20%), or neutral (7%). None selected negative emotional states. Surgeon pairs focused their coaching sessions on teaching (33%), followed by non-technical (28%) and technical skills (20%). The net promoter score for the program was 33 (scale: -100 to 100), reflecting a moderately high sense of commitment and satisfaction.

Though surgeon participation in a peer coaching program does not appear to affect professional fulfillment, participants do perceive exclusively positive emotions with coaching and are likely to recommend it to others. Surgeons are also more likely to focus their coaching efforts on teaching and non-technical skills, consistent with prior research.

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