Objective Assessment of General Surgery Residents Followed by Remediation

Becca L. Gas, Eee LN H. Buckarma, Monali Mohan, T. K. Pandian, David R. Farley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective Surgical training programs often lack objective assessment strategies. Complicated scheduling characteristics frequently make it difficult for surgical residents to undergo formal assessment; actually having the time and opportunity to remediate poor performance is an even greater problem. We developed a novel methodology of assessment for residents and created an efficient remediation system using a combination of simulation, online learning, and self-assessment options. Design Postgraduate year (PGY) 2 to 5 general surgery (GS) residents were tested in a 5 station, objective structured clinical examination style event called the Surgical X-Games. Stations were 15 minutes in length and tested both surgical knowledge and technical skills. Stations were scored on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = Fail, 2 = Mediocre, 3 = Pass, 4 = Good, and 5 = Stellar). Station scores ≤ 2 were considered subpar and required remediation to a score ≥ 4. Five remediation sessions allowed residents the opportunity to practice the stations with staff surgeons. Videos of each skill or test of knowledge with clear instructions on how to perform at a stellar level were offered. Trainees also had the opportunity to checkout take-home task trainers to practice specific skills. Residents requiring remediation were then tested again in-person or sent in self-made videos of their performance. Setting Academic medical center. Participants PGY2, 3, 4, and 5 GS residents at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Results A total of, 35 residents participated in the Surgical X-Games in the spring of 2015. Among all, 31 (89%) had scores that were deemed subpar on at least 1 station. Overall, 18 (58%) residents attempted remediation. All 18 (100%) achieved a score ≥ 4 on the respective stations during a makeup attempt. Overall X-Games scores and those of PGY2s, 3s, and 4s were higher after remediation (p < 0.05). No PGY5s attempted remediation. Conclusions Despite difficulties with training logistics and busy resident schedules, it is feasible to objectively assess most GS trainees and offer opportunities to remediate if performance is poor. Our multifaceted remediation methodology allowed 18 residents to achieve good or stellar performance on each station after deliberate practice. Enticing chief residents to participate in remediation efforts in the spring of their final year of training remains a work in progress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e71-e76
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Patient Care
  • assessment
  • general surgery
  • remediation
  • simulation
  • surgical education


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