ABSTRACT: A Video-Based Coaching Intervention to Improve Surgical Skill in Fourth-Year Medical Students
For senior medical students pursuing careers in surgery, specific technical feedback is critical for developing foundational skills in preparation for residency. This pilot study seeks to assess the feasibility of a video-based coaching intervention to improve the suturing skills of fourth-year medical students.
Fourth-year medical students pursuing careers in surgery were randomized to intervention vs. control groups and completed 2 video recorded suture tasks. Students in the intervention group received a structured coaching session between consecutive suturing tasks, whereas students in the control group did not. Each coaching session consisted of a video review of the students’ first suture task with a faculty member that provided directed feedback regarding technique. Following each suturing task, students were asked to self-assess their performance and provide feedback regarding the utility of the coaching session. All videos were deidentified and graded by independent faculty members for evaluation of suture technique.
The University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
All fourth-year medical students pursuing careers in surgical specialties were contacted via e-mail for voluntary participation. In all, 16 students completed both baseline and follow up suture tasks.
All students who completed the coaching session would definitely recommend the session for other students. A total of 94% of the students strongly agreed that the exercise was a beneficial experience, and 75% strongly agreed that it improved their technical skills. Based on faculty grading, students in the intervention group demonstrated greater average improvements in bimanual dexterity compared to students in the control group; whereas students in the control group demonstrated greater average improvements in domains of efficiency and tissue handling compared to the intervention group. Based on student self-assessments, those in the intervention group had greater subjective improvements in all scored domains of bimanual dexterity, efficiency, tissue handling, and consistency compared to the control group. Subjective, free-response comments centered on themes of becoming more aware of hand movements when viewing their suturing from a new perspective, and the usefulness of the coaching advice.
This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of a video-based coaching intervention for senior medical students. Students who participated in the coaching arm of the intervention noticed improvements in all domains of technical skill and noted that the experience was overwhelmingly positive. In summary, video-based review shows promise as an educational tool in medical education as a means to provide specific technical feedback.