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Surgery. 2018 Aug;164(2):185-188. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2018.03.009. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Dynamics within peer-to-peer surgical coaching relationships: Early evidence from the Michigan Bariatric Surgical Collaborative.

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National Clinician Scholars Program at the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Electronic address:
Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.



Many coaching methods have been well studied and formalized, but the approach most commonly used in the continuing education of surgeons is peer coaching. Through a qualitative thematic analysis, we sought to determine if surgeons can comfortably and effectively transition to a co-learner dynamic for effective peer coaching.


This qualitative study evaluated 20 surgeons participating in a video review coaching exercise in October 2015. Each conversation was coded by 2 authors focusing on the dynamics of the coach and coachee relationship. Once coded, thematic analysis was performed.


Two themes emerged in our analysis: (1) Participants often alternated between the roles of coach and coachee, even though they received assigned roles prior to the start of the session. For example, a coach would defer to the coachee, suggesting they felt unqualified to teach a particular technique or procedure. (2) The interactions demonstrated bidirectional exchange of ideas with both participants offering expertise when appropriate. For example, the coach and coachee frequently engaged in back-and-forth discussion about techniques, instrument selection, and intraoperative decision-making.


Our qualitative analysis demonstrates that surgeons naturally and effectively assume co-learner roles when participating in an early surgical coaching experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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