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Attributes of trainers for postgraduate training in general surgery - a national consensus

Attributes of trainers for postgraduate training in general surgery - a national consensus

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Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to obtain consensus amongst consultant surgeons on the attributes of a good surgical trainer that can be used to inform continuing professional development programmes for trainers. Methods: good trainer attributes were generated from an intensive qualitative study using a participative inquiry process with consultant general surgeons and specialist registrars in the Tayside region. These good trainer attributes were then used as the basis of a modified Delphi study; the early rounds of the Delphi simultaneously sought participants' views concerning stated attributes and sought to generate new attributes. A final Delphi questionnaire was sent to all 180 consultant general surgeons in Scotland to identify consensus. Results: The first two rounds of the Delphi process produced 45 attributes covering seven themes: interest in training, trainer as a team member, communication, receptiveness to trainee needs, trainer as a role model, reflection on practice and clinical and operative competence. The final survey identified significant consensus among surgeons. Clinical and operative competence achieved the highest consensus with 89.2% of surgeons believing it to be an essential attribute. Conclusions: The results indicate that there is consensus on the seven themes identified as essential for a trainer in general surgery. The recognition of the importance by trainers of non-surgical trainer attributes in the changed training structure is encouraging. Surgeons' level of awareness of their roles as a trainer will help inform the level and direction of trainer training and support required as part of a flexible and continuing developmental process.

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