CONTEXT: Residents need their supervisors in the operating room to inform them on how to use their expertise in present and future occasions. A few studies hint at such explicit teaching behaviour, however without explaining its underlying mechanisms. Understanding and improving explicit teaching becomes more salient nowadays, as access of residents to relevant procedures is decreasing, while end-terms of training programs remain unchanged: high quality patient care.
OBJECTIVES: A structured analysis of 1. The practices supervisors use for explicit teaching and 2. How supervisors introduce explicit teaching in real time during surgical procedures.
METHODS: An observational qualitative collection study in which all actions of nine supervisor-resident dyads during a total hip replacement procedure were videotaped. Interactions in which supervisors explicitly or implicitly inform residents how to use their expertise now and in future occasions were included for further analysis, using the iterative inductive process of conversation analysis.
RESULTS: 1. Supervisors used a basic template of if/then rules for explicit teaching, which they regularly customized by adding metaphors, motivations, and information about preference, prevalence and consequence. 2. If/then rules are introduced by supervisors to solve a (potential) problem in outcome for the present patient in reaction to local circumstances, e.g. what residents said, did or were about to do.
CONCLUSIONS: If/then rules add the why to the what. Supervisors upgrade residents' insights in surgical procedures (professional vision) and teach the degree of individual freedom and variation of their expert standards for future occasions. These insights can be beneficial in improving supervisors' teaching skills.