Quantifying surgeon's contribution to team effectiveness on a mixed team with a junior surgeon

Surgery. 2011 Jun;149(6):761-5. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2010.11.013. Epub 2011 Apr 22.


Background: A surgical team often consists of an experienced surgeon and surgeons in training. This project quantified the contribution of the experienced surgeon to the teamwork in a team comprised of 1 experienced and 1 novice surgeon (Mixed Team).

Methods: An experienced and a novice surgeon in a Mixed Team were required to complete a peg transportation task and an intracorporeal suture task collaboratively. Tasks were evaluated by a summative score (up to 100 points) that was calculated on task speed and accuracy. Performances of 24 Mixed Teams were compared to 24 Novice Teams (each composed of 2 novices) and 8 Expert Teams (each composed of 2 experienced surgeons).

Results: The Mixed Teams performed better (67.6 points) than the Novice Teams (51.3; P < .001) but worse than the Expert Teams (88.3; P < .001). When examining individual performance in the Mixed Teams, we observed that experienced surgeons maintained their superior performance like they did in the Expert Teams (P = .153). Novices in the Mixed Teams, however, showed markedly better performances than they did in the Novice Teams (P = .024).

Conclusion: Instant guidance and instruction from experienced surgeons inspire novices' performance, providing a foundation for surgical teamwork effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Laparoscopy / education*
  • Learning Curve
  • Program Evaluation
  • Teaching / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface