Forum Theatre to Address Peer-to-Peer Mistreatment in General Surgery Residency

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Mistreatment is widespread in graduate medical education, and much attention has been generated on this topic and its relationship to burnout in general surgery residency. In particular, peer-to-peer mistreatment poses a developmental dilemma – as junior residents find themselves mistreated and some turn around and perpetuate that mistreatment. There is a paucity of effective interventions. Forum Theatre (FT) is a novel educational tool to engage participants in solving difficult situations. We present the use of FT as a tool to explore solutions to address peer-to-peer mistreatment in a surgery residency. FT starts with the performance of a culture-specific conflict scenario and then invites the audience to participate in renditions of the situation ending in a collective solution. DESIGN: Stakeholder support was obtained from the general surgery program leadership. Time was protected during two 1-hour scheduled wellness didactic sessions. First, focus groups with each PG year identified the residents’ experience of mistreatment. Themes regarding peer-to peer mistreatment were identified and presented to a group of 3 volunteer actor residents who chose to focus on the unintended consequences of public, corrective feedback with the understanding this would be presented to the residency at large. Following this, they developed a scenario for enactment which was implemented during the second didactic session. The enacted scenario posed a problem with public feedback ending unsatisfactorily. The audience was then invited to engage the actors and participate in replays of the situation until a collective solution was identified. Retrospective pre-post survey and a 6-month post survey were administered. SETTING: General surgery residency at University of Texas Health San Antonio. PARTICIPANTS: General surgery residents. 32 of 66 (48.5%) residents participated. RESULTS: Participants noted an improved understanding of mistreatment, felt more confident in recognizing mistreatment, reported improved confidence in their ability to intervene when witnessing mistreatment and to recognize when they themselves were involved in mistreatment (p < 0.001 for all). In fact, of the residents who reported participating in mistreatment, 100% reported directing it towards peers. After the FT, 89% of residents said they “definitely” or “most likely” recommended participating in a FT to address mistreatment. 85.7% reported that the intervention was moderately to extremely effective for teaching topics in professionalism. These trends remained steady in the survey 6 months after the intervention as well. CONCLUSIONS: We found FT was feasible to implement in a busy general surgery residency and well received with sustained, self- reported behavior change. FT is a novel tool to engage residents to self-evaluate and participate in methods to address mistreatment. FT interventions can be tailored to the local culture to address conflicts specific to that setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Forum Theatre
  • General surgery
  • Peer to peer mistreatment
  • Surgical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

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