Medical students’ perception of what embodies an effective surgeon educator

K. J. Dickinson, B. L. Bass, K. Y. Pei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Effective surgeon educators likely help medical students develop competency and may inspire pursuit of surgical training. We sought to determine the qualities medical students believe embody effective surgical educators. Methods: Mixed-methods study of nationally electronically recruited 3rd-year medical students using virtual semi-structured interviews and anonymous quantitative survey to determine the most critical and most frequently encountered qualities of effective surgical educators. Thematic analysis using grounded theory was undertaken. Results: Data saturation occurred after 9 interviews. Themes of effective surgical educators included: engagement (acknowledging student, knowing their name, talking to the student), fostering a positive learning environment (non-threatening, non-shaming questioning), inclusion (giving responsibility/appropriate autonomy), and understanding how to teach a novice (teaching the student how to learn, adapt to learner). On quantitative analysis of Likert based survey, encouraging, promoting a positive learning climate, timely constructive feedback, and questioning were ranked as most critical. Conclusion: Students highly value positive learning climate and inclusion. Faculty Development to promote these traits may improve clerkship learning and experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Education
  • Medical student
  • Surgical education
  • Teacher
  • Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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