Anaesthesiology trainers' knowledge, attitudes and practices of feedback in a South African anaesthesiology department
Keywords:feedback, anaesthesiology training, medical education
Background: Feedback is essential for effective postgraduate medical training. There are limited studies that focus on the feedback culture in anaesthesiology training. This study aims to explore the anaesthesiology trainer’s challenges and perceptions of knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of feedback to anaesthesiology trainees. The influence of gender and level of experience of the trainer on giving feedback are also explored.
Methods: A mixed methods study was conducted. The sample consisted of all anaesthetists involved in training in the Department of Anaesthesiology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Data was collected using an electronic survey consisting of both open-ended and closed-ended questions. Quantitative data was statistically analysed using R Statistical Computing software version 3.6.3. Differences between gender groups were assessed using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test. Correlation plots were used to determine a correlation between the level of experience and giving feedback. All statistical tests were conducted at a 5% significance level. Qualitative data was thematically analysed.
Results: Of 70 trainers, 56 completed the questionnaire. The majority of trainers rated their KAP perceptions of feedback highly, though half admitted to having difficulty giving negative feedback. Significantly more male trainers were confident about their feedback skills and set time aside for giving feedback as compared to female trainers (p = 0.037). No significant correlation was found between the level of experience and KAP perceptions. Five major themes related to the challenges were: time constraints and lack of frequency, lack of consistency, lack of follow-up, inadequate feedback tools, and a lack of feedback training.
Conclusion: Although trainers rated their KAP perceptions of feedback highly, this conflicted with some of the actual current feedback practices and challenges reported. Faculty development, continuous professional development, revised feedback tools and formal feedback policies were suggested to strengthen the feedback culture in anaesthesiology training.
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