surgeons helping surgeons reach their personal and professional best
This project is generously funded by a grant from:
The Physician's Foundation
What is the AWS Coaching Project?
Burnout among surgical trainees is a challenging problem facing hospitals and programs nationwide, and studies show that burnout disproportionately affects women. We have come up with a unique program to address this and take action. Last year, with the help of Dr. Kerri Palamara from the Massachusetts General Hospital, we have created a new coaching project designed to support women trainees and reduce burnout. Dr. Palamara already had success with this program nationwide, with studies showing reduced burnout and improved well-being in trainees. We will be tailoring this program to the specific issues facing women surgery residents such as gender bias, microaggression, and work-life integration. While surgery residents have many evaluators, letter-writers and mentors, they rarely have the opportunity for a faculty member to reflect on their development throughout their training in a coaching role. The coaching project is focused only on the resident’s individual personal and professional development, not their career development. The goal is to help each and every one of our residents excel and progress throughout their training with the tools to combat burnout, as we are all lifelong learners with growth potential.
AWS faculty who volunteer to be coaches will undergo a mandatory three-hour coaching session at AWS Annual Conference in San Francisco on October 27 from 1:00 to 4:00pm. Coaches will then be paired with two residents for three remote coaching sessions to take place over a nine-month period. Surveys will be administered before and after the coaching period.
AWS is evaluating the efficacy of a coaching program in surgical residents with a specially designed pilot research project. In this pilot, half of the residents who sign up will be randomized to coaching, and the other half will receive informational readings about topics related to burnout.
Dr. Kerri Palamara from the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine developed this program with the Institute of Coaching at Harvard Medical School. She will be working closely with members of the AWS to facilitate training, matching and evaluating the program. We have engaged a professional research team to ensure your confidentiality when completing any application form.
Training for coaches begins at the AWS Annual Meeting on October 27 from 1:00 to 4:00pm! We are looking for 30 practicing surgeons and 120 residents to participate in the second year of our study. Below is some additional information about the program.
Information for Coaches (AWS Faculty):
So what does it mean to have a coach?
Professional Development Coaches will be trained in positive psychology techniques by Dr. Palamara during three hours of faculty training, which will take place October 27, 2019 from 1:00 - 4:00pm Pacific time at the AWS Annual Conference in San Francisco. After training, you will be assigned two residents who are interested in a field other than your own. You will be responsible for meeting with them every three months (three total meetings) to review their experiences, encourage reflection, and set learning goals for the next three months of rotations. In this role as a coach, you will not be asked to write letters of recommendation for your residents. Meetings will take place remotely. To prepare for these meetings, you will be provided with session guides and updated, online training videos. There will be optional periodic check-ins with Dr. Palamara to review coaching skills throughout the program. We are recruiting 30 practicing surgeons to train as Professional Development Coaches.
What is the time commitment?
You will be asked to attend the mandatory three-hour faculty development training session held at the AWS Annual Conference. We will also hold webinar boosters to refresh your training prior to your second and third sessions with your coachees. We anticipate the time commitment to be about 40 minutes to an hour for each meeting with your coachee. Since all the meetings are remote (phone or video chat), they are easier to schedule around your other time commitments, as compared with in person meetings.
What do I get out of this?
The coaching program is a great way to have a meaningful relationship with our residents, participate in their development, stay active in AWS, and connect with other physicians engaged in the program. The faculty training sessions focus on leadership development, positive psychology, and feedback skills, which have been described as incredibly helpful to prior coaches, and have been shown to reduce burnout and improve coping skills in faculty, as well as their coachees. Additionally, this is volunteerism that can be added to your CV. Coaches must be able to attend the mandatory training session in San Francisco on October 27, 2019.
Who can be a coach?
Coaches must be current members of the Association of Women Surgeons, practicing surgeons (completed residency or fellowship), reside in the United States, and be available to attempt the coaching training in San Francisco on October 27, 2019.
Applications for coaches close August 30 or when all spaces are filled.
Information for Residents:
As a research project, half of the residents accepted with be randomized to a control group and half to a receive a coach. The control group will receive email updates from Association of Women Surgeons providing links to videos and readings that cover material. All residents are asked to complete surveys at the beginning and end of the project and will receive a gift card as compensation for their time and participation.
What does it mean to have a coach?
You will meet with your coach every three months (three total meetings) to review your experiences, reflect, and set learning goals for the next three months. In these sessions, coaches will ask you to explore big picture goals for the year, and short-term goals for the next few months. They will ask you to consider what you are doing well, what makes you feel good about your work, what brings you joy, and what your strengths are. With guidance from your coach, you will use these positive experiences and reflections to understand how to explore challenges and improve areas of your life including work-life integration, microaggressions at work, gender bias, and navigating your personal and professional development. Coaches will not provide residents with letters of recommendation as a part of this program in order to place the focus of this program on personal and professional development rather than on career development.
What is the time commitment?
We anticipate the time commitment to be about 40 minutes to an hour for each meeting with your coach. You will also be asked to complete a 10-15 minute "homework" assignment prior to each meeting. There will be three coaching meetings with your coach during the next nine months. Since all the meetings are remote (phone or video chat), they are easier to schedule around your prior time commitments, compared to in person meetings. You will also be asked to complete surveys at the beginning and conclusion of the program (requirement for program involvement).
What do I get out of this?
The coaching program is a great way to have a meaningful relationship with a faculty member and to connect with someone in a different geographic area and area of interest than you. Prior residents who have participated in such programs have shown reduced burnout, improved well-being, better coping skills, and improved workplace relationships.
Who can be a coachee?
Coachees must be current members (or institutional members) of the Association of Women Surgeons, in residency, fellowship or research time during residency for the academic year 2019-2020, and reside in the United States. Coachees will not be part of the coaching training in San Francisco.
Applications for residents close August 30 or when all spaces are filled.