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Prognostic significance of drivers at work and learning styles in surgical training


Purpose of the study Drivers at work (DW) and Learning Styles (LS) refer to contentious theories that aim to account for differential career development yet seldom feature in assessment. This study aimed to quantify the influence of core surgical trainees’ (CST) DW and LS on career progress.

Study design DW questionnaires and Kolb LS inventories were distributed to 168 CSTs during five consecutive induction boot camps in a single-statutory education body. Primary outcome measures were membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination and national training number (NTN) success.

Results Of 108 responses received (response rate 64.3%), 64.8% were male and 35.2% female (p=0.003). DW spectrum was: please people (25.0%), be perfect (21.3%), hurry up (18.5%), be strong (13.9%) and try hard (0%, p<0.001). DW was either equivocal (n=14) or not provided (n=9) by 21.3% of CSTs. LS were: converging (34.3%), accommodating (28.7%), diverging (23.1%) and assimilating (13.9%, p=0.021). Men were more likely to be convergers (29/70, 41.4%), and women divergers (15/38, 39.5%, p=0.018) also preferring team-based LS (accommodating/diverging, 26/38 (68.4%) vs 30/70 (42.9%), p=0.010). MRCS success was not associated with DW (p=0.329) or LS (p=0.459). On multivariable analysis, NTN success was associated with LS (accommodators 64.5%, divergers 32.0%, OR 10.90, p=0.014), scholarly activity (OR 1.71, p=0.001), improving surgical training programme (OR 36.22, p=0.019) and universal ARCP 1 outcome (OR 183.77, p<0.001).

Conclusions LS are associated with important differences in career progress with accommodator twofold more likely than diverger to achieve NTN.

  • medical education & training

Data availability statement

No data are available. Not applicable.

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