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. 2022 Jun 29. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005562. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

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

Summary background data: 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 (emailed wellness resources). Participants were surveyed at baseline and post-intervention using validated measures of well-being, burnout, and resilience. Changes in outcome measures between pre- and post-survey 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.