The Role of Preoperative Briefing and Postoperative Debriefing in Surgical Education

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OBJECTIVE: To study the impact of a new preoperative briefing and postoperative debriefing tool on the perceived quality of surgical education and to assess attitudes of residents and attendings regarding this tool. DESIGN: Surrounding introduction and use of the tool (JHFIRE: Joint Huddles for Improving Resident Education), perceived quality of surgical education was assessed with pre- and postintervention System for Evaluation of Teaching Qualities (SETQ) surveys. Additionally, a postintervention Likert survey regarding the JHFIRE tool itself was completed by residents and faculty. SETTING: Johns Hopkins University Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, a tertiary care academic institution. PARTICIPANTS: All residents and attendings who used the tool were invited to participate. 40 participants (13 residents, 27 attendings) completed the preintervention SETQ. 11 participants (3 residents, 7 attendings, 1 unspecified) completed the postintervention SETQ. For postintervention qualitative assessment of the tool itself, 12 participants (3 residents, 7 attendings, 2 unspecified) provided feedback. RESULTS: The tool was well-received with large subjective benefit in improving resident surgical education. A total of 88% thought that the time spent on the debriefings was “just right” and 91% planned to make the debriefings a regular part of operative performance assessments. Despite this overwhelmingly positive feedback, there was no overall difference in pre- and postintervention SETQ scores for climate of surgical education in the Department (4.25 ± 0.55 vs. 4.10 ± 0.88, p = 0.63). CONCLUSIONS: Introduction of 4 item preoperative briefing and 4 item postoperative debriefing checklists was welcomed by both residents and faculty for its ability to shape surgical education in the operating room into a guided discovery model of hands-on education. Overall SETQ scores did not change, but most participants found value in the tool and plan to continue its use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1188
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of surgical education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • SETQ
  • briefing
  • debriefing
  • resident education
  • surgical training
  • teaching quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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