Send to

Choose Destination
Postgrad Med J. 2011 Aug;87(1030):524-8. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.2010.109363. Epub 2011 Jun 3.

Optimising surgical training: use of feedback to reduce errors during a simulated surgical procedure.

Author information

Colles Institute, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 121 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland.



To assess the effect of proximate or immediate feedback during an intensive training session. The authors hypothesised that provision of feedback during a training session would improve performance and learning curves.


Twenty-eight trainee surgeons participated in the study between September and December 2008. They were consecutively assigned to group 1 (n=16, no feedback) or group 2 (n=12, feedback) All the participants performed five hand-assisted laparoscopic colectomy procedures on the ProMIS surgical simulator. Efficiency of instrument use (instrument path length and smoothness) and predefined intraoperative error scores were assessed. Facilitators assisted their performance and answered questions when asked. Group 1 participants were given no extra assistance, but group 2 participants received standardised feedback and the chance to review errors after every procedure. Data were analysed using SPSS V.15. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare mean performance results, and analysis of variance was used to calculate within-subject improvement.


Group 1 achieved better results for instrument path length (23 874 mm vs 39 086 mm, p=0.001) and instrument smoothness (2015 vs 2567, p=0.045) However, group 2 (feedback) performed significantly better with regard to error scores (14 vs 4.42, p=0.000). In addition, they demonstrated a smoother learning curve. Inter-rater reliability for the error scores was 0.97.


The provision of standardised proximate feedback was associated with significantly fewer errors and an improved learning curve. Reducing errors in the skills lab environment should lead to safer clinical performance. This may help to make training more efficient and improve patient safety.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center