Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Quality Metrics and Indicators for Surgical Training_ A Scoping Review.pdf (316.29 kB)

Quality metrics and indicators for surgical training: a scoping review

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-15, 17:49 authored by Lawa ShabanLawa Shaban, Payao Mkandawire, Eric O'FlynnEric O'Flynn, Deirdre MangaoangDeirdre Mangaoang, Wakisa Mulwafu, Deborah StanistreetDeborah Stanistreet

Background: Surgical training quality is critical to ensure that trainees receive adequate preparation to perform surgical procedures independently and that patients receive safe, effective, and high-quality care. Numerous surgical training quality indicators have been proposed, investigated and implemented. However, the existing evidence base for these indicators is limited, with most studies originating from English-speaking, high-income countries.

Objectives: This scoping review aimed to identify the range of quality indicators that have been proposed and evaluated in the literature, and to critically evaluate the existing evidence base for these indicators.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using MEDLINE and Embase databases to identify studies reporting on surgical training quality indicators. A total of 68 articles were included in the review.

Results: Operative volume is the most commonly cited indicator and has been investigated for its effects on trainee exam performance and career progression. Other indicators include operative diversity, workplace-based assessments, regular evaluation and feedback, academic achievements, formal teaching, and learning agreements, and direct observation of procedural skills. However, these indicators are largely based on qualitative analyses and expert opinions and have not been validated quantitatively using clear outcome measures for trainees and patients.

Conclusions: Future research is necessary to establish evidence-based indicators of high-quality surgical training, including in low-resource settings. Quantitative and qualitative studies are required to validate existing indicators and to identify new indicators that are relevant to diverse surgical training environments. Lastly, any approach to surgical training quality must prioritize the benefit to both trainees and patients, ensuring training success, career progression, and patient safety.


Science Foundation Ireland (grant number: 21/FIP/SDG/9944)

Development of Population Health and Health Services Research Cluster Funding (grant number: 22099A01)



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Published Citation

Shaban L, Mkandawire P, O'Flynn E, Mangaoang D, Mulwafu W, Stanistreet D. Quality metrics and indicators for surgical training: a scoping review. J Surg Educ. 2023;80(9):1302-1310.

Publication Date

21 July 2023

PubMed ID



  • Institute of Global Surgery
  • School of Population Health
  • Public Health and Epidemiology


Elsevier B.V.


  • Published Version (Version of Record)