General Surgery Residents’ Perception of Feedback: We Can Do Better

Aakanksha Gupta, Cassandra V. Villegas, Anthony C. Watkins, Christopher Foglia, James Rucinski, Robert J. Winchell, Philip S. Barie, Mayur Narayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Feedback (FB) regarding perioperative care is essential in general surgery residents’ (GSRs) training. We hypothesized that FB would be distributed unevenly across preoperative (PrO), intraoperative (IO), and postoperative (PO) continuum of the perioperative period. We aimed to compare results between university- and community-hospital settings planning to institute structured, formalized FB in a large health care system operating multiple surgery residency programs in departments that are linked strategically. Methods: Quantitative, cross-sectional, Likert scale anonymous surveys were distributed to all GSRs (categorical and preliminary; university: community 1:2). Twenty-five questions considered frequency and perceived quality of FB in PrO, IO, and PO settings. Data were tabulated using REDCap and analyzed in Microsoft Excel using the Mann-Whitney U test, with α = 0.05. Comparisons were made between university- and community-hospital settings, between junior (Post-Graduate Year (PGY) 1-3) and senior (PGY 4-5) GSRs, and by gender. Results: Among 115 GSRs surveyed, 83 (72%) responded. Whereas 93% reported receiving some FB within the past year, 46% reported receiving FB ≤ 20% of the time. A majority (58%) found FB to be helpful ≥ 80% of the time. Among GSRs, 77%, 24%, and 64% reported receiving PrO, IO, or PO FB ≤ 20% of the time, respectively, but 52% also believed that FB was lacking in all 3 areas. Most GSRs wanted designated time for PrO planning FB (82%) and PO FB (87%), respectively. Thirty-six percent of GSRs reported that senior/chief (i.e., PGY-4/PGY-5 GSRs) took them through cases ≥40% of the time; notably,78% reported that FB from senior/chief GSRs was equally or more valuable than FB from attending surgeons. A majority (78%) reported that attending surgeons stated explicitly when they were providing FB only ≤20% of the time. GSRs at the community hospital campuses reported receiving a higher likelihood of “any” FB, IO FB, and PO FB (p < 0.05). Most GSRs surveyed preferred a structured format and designated times for debriefing and evaluation of performance. Subanalyses of gender and GSR level of training showed no differences. Conclusions: FB during GSR training varies across the perioperative continuum of care. Community programs seem to do better than University Programs. More work need to be done to elucidate why differences exist between the frequency of FB at University and Community programs. Further, data show particularly low FB outside of the operating room. Ideally, according to respondents, FB would be provided in a structured format and at designated times for debriefing and evaluation of performance, which poses a challenge considering the temporal dynamism of general surgery services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-533
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • culture
  • education
  • general surgery
  • operative feedback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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