Surgeons' experience of learning psychological skills: A preliminary evaluation of a psychological skills training course

Victoria Mason, Sellna Baiioo, Dominic Upton, Kamal Heer, Phil Higton, Uttam Shiralkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: A range of human factors have been shown to impact on surgical performance although little is known about the impact of training on the views of surgeons towards these factors or how receptive surgeons are to such training.

Subjects and methods: This was an observational pilot study using a short questionnaire designed to elicit views of surgeons towards a range of human factors prior to, and immediately following, a course designed to address human factors in surgical performance. Focus groups were also conducted before and immediately after the course to elicit views.

Results: Of all the human factors assessed, decision-making was rated on a visual analogue scale as having the biggest impact on performance both before and after the course. In general, views of human factors changed following the course, most notably an increase in the extent to which work stress, interpersonal difficulties and personality were believed to affect performance. Three themes emerged from the focus groups: (i) personal professional development: (ii) the relationship between trainer and trainee; and (in) the changing perspective.

Conclusion: Surgeons from a range of specialties are receptive to training on the impact of human factors on performance and this study has shown that views may change following a course designed to address this. Further training to address the theory-practice gap is warranted in addition to an evaluation of its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-325
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


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