Can fatigue affect acquisition of new surgical skills? A prospective trial of pre- and post-call general surgery residents using the da Vinci surgical skills simulator
To study the effects of fatigue on general surgery residents’ performance on the da Vinci Skills Simulator (dVSS).
15 General Surgery residents from various postgraduate training years (PGY2, PGY3, PGY4, and PGY5) performed 5 simulation tasks on the dVSS as recommended by the Robotic Training Network (RTN). The General Surgery residents had no prior experience with the dVSS. Participants were assigned to either the Pre-call group or Post-call group based on call schedule. As a measure of subjective fatigue, residents were given the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) prior to their dVSS testing. The dVSS MScore™ software recorded various metrics (Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills, OSATS) that were used to evaluate the performance of each resident to compare the robotic simulation proficiency between the Pre-call and Post-call groups.
Six general surgery residents were stratified into the Pre-call group and nine into the Post-call group. These residents were also stratified into Fatigued (10) or Nonfatigued (5) groups, as determined by their reported ESS scores. A statistically significant difference was found between the Pre-call and Post-call reported sleep hours (p = 0.036). There was no statistically significant difference between the Pre-call and Post-call groups or between the Fatigued and Nonfatigued groups in time to complete exercise, number of attempts, and high MScore™ score.
Despite variation in fatigue levels, there was no effect on the acquisition of robotic simulator skills.
KeywordsFatigue Robotic Education dVSS General surgery resident
da Vinci Skills Simulator
Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Objective structure assessment of technical skills
Robotic training network
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
Virtual surgery simulator
Institutional Review Board
Statistical package of social sciences
The authors are grateful for Craig Smith M.D. and his involvement in our study.
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Weston Robison, Sonya K. Patel, Akshat Mehta, Tristan Senkowski, John Allen, Eric Shaw, and Christopher K. Senkowski declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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