Impact of a Virtual Professional Development Coaching Program on the Professional Fulfillment and Well-Being of Women Surgery Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Ann Surg. 2023 Feb 1;277(2):188-195. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005562. Epub 2022 Jun 29.


Objective: Evaluate the effect of a virtual coaching program offered to women surgery residents in a surgical society.

Background: Randomized controlled experiments evaluating the effect of coaching on trainee well-being and burnout is lacking.

Methods: Women surgery residents in the Association of Women Surgeons were recruited to participate in a randomized controlled trial of the effects of a virtual coaching program on trainee well-being. Attending surgeons served as coaches after completing in-person training. Residents (n=237) were randomized to intervention (three 1:1 coaching sessions over 9 mo) or control (e-mailed wellness resources). Participants were surveyed at baseline and postintervention using validated measures of well-being, burnout, and resilience. Changes in outcome measures between presurvey and postsurvey were compared between study arms.

Results: Survey response rates were 56.9% (n=66) in the control group and 69.4% (n=84) in the intervention group ( P =0.05). The intervention group showed significant improvement in professional fulfillment ( P =0.021), burnout (0.026), work exhaustion (0.017), self-valuation (0.003), and well-being ( P =0.002); whereas the control group showed significant improvement in self-valuation ( P =0.015) and significant decline in resilience ( P =0.025). The intervention group had a significant improvement in well-being ( P =0.015) and intolerance of uncertainty ( P =0.015) compared to controls.

Conclusions: Women surgery residents who participated in a remote coaching program offered by a surgical society demonstrated improvement in aspects of well-being relative to peers who did not receive coaching. Therefore, remote coaching offered by a professional society may be a useful component of initiatives directed at trainee well-being.

Trial registration: NCT04883307.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Mentoring*
  • Surgeons* / education
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data