Surgical peer coaching has been associated with high rates of practice change but remains largely unutilized. The purpose of this study was to survey surgeons internationally to investigate attitudes regarding peer coaching and to identify any international differences to inform the design of future coaching programs.
Practicing surgeons in general surgery or related subspecialties were eligible to participate. Invitations to complete the survey were distributed through 13 surgical associations, social media, and personal e-mail invitations. Responses were obtained between June 1st and August 31st, 2020.
A total of 521 surveys were collected. The majority of participants practiced in North America (263; 50%) with remaining respondents from Asia (81; 16%), Europe (34;7%), South America (21; 4%), Africa (17; 3%), and Oceania (6; 1%). Duration of practice was equally distributed across 4 intervals (0–5 years; 6–15 years; 16–25 years; > 25 years). Respondents most frequently identified as general surgeons (290; 67%) and 325 (75%) were male. Awareness of peer coaching was reported by 275 (53%) respondents, with 197 (44%) never seeking formal feedback from peers. The majority of respondents (372; 84%) would be willing to participate in a peer coaching program, with monthly interactions the most desirable frequency reported (193; 51%). Coaching in the operating room was preferred by most participants (360; 86%). Few respondents (67; 14%) would accept coaching from someone unknown to them. Participants identified key coaching program elements as: feedback kept private and confidential (267; 63%); opportunity to provide feedback to the coach (247; 59%); personalized goal setting (244; 58%); and the option to choose one’s own coach (205; 49%). The most commonly cited potential barrier to participation was logistical constraints (334; 79%).
This international survey of practicing surgeons demonstrated that peer feedback is rarely used in practice, but there is high interest and acceptance of the peer coaching model for continuous professional development. Findings regarding preferred program structure may be useful to inform the design of future peer coaching programs.