Sustaining the surgical educator workforce in Australia and New Zealand.
Collins JP., Smith MJ., Lambert T., Hillis DJ.
BACKGROUND: The education and training of tomorrow’s surgeons are predicated upon the involvement of a broad spectrum of surgical educators. Identification of the factors that influence their ongoing participation is crucial for its continuity. METHODS: A study was performed on 695 surgeons identified as having major involvement in surgical education and training using a questionnaire based on a number of educational themes. RESULTS: Four hundred and thirty-eight surgeons (63%) completed the questionnaire. The majority found teaching rewarding and would recommend it to colleagues, although fewer would advocate being a supervisor or course instructor. The highest motivating factors were sharing knowledge, enjoyment of teaching, necessity to remain up to date and the interaction that teaching provides with colleagues. Barriers included insufficient time because of other work commitments, lack of support from hospital management and intrusion on work–life balance. Surgeons saw themselves as successful in answering trainees’ questions, appropriately delegating patient care, providing feedback and creating a positive learning environment. They were least confident in helping trainees to identify their learning needs and develop their learning goals. New courses were considered desirable in assessment, providing feedback and the management of underperforming trainees. CONCLUSIONS: Enjoyment of teaching, sharing knowledge and the requirement to keep up to date, motivate surgeons to teach. Lack of time for teaching, and lack of recognition and support act as barriers. Designated time for teaching, being equipped for the educational roles involved, and the provision of appropriate recognition and support are necessary to sustain this essential resource.