Evaluating Non-operative Robotic Skills in Colorectal Surgical Training

Yazan N. AlJamal, Mohamed S. Baloul, Kellie L. Mathis, Eric J. Dozois, Scott R. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Robotic-assisted surgery has become a common platform for performing colorectal procedures. Educators must determine how best to teach and train residents to use the technology safely. There is a paucity of literature on how non-operative skills are being taught and integrated into colorectal training. Herein we describe the implementation and assessment of a pilot simulation-based Robotic Colorectal Surgery Non-Technical Skills curriculum. Materials and methods: Since 2017 six colon and rectal surgery residents participated in two scenarios: pelvic bleeding and CO2 embolism. The scenarios were administered in a simulated operating room twice during the academic year (fall and spring), and audio-video recorded. In addition to self-assessment, videos were evaluated by faculty utilizing the validated Interpersonal and Cognitive Assessment for Robotic Surgery system. To understand the role of scenario difficulty with respect to perceived cognitive workload and performance residents completed a NASA-Task Load Index assessment form. Results: Between the fall and spring sessions residents significantly improved in intraoperative leadership skills for both the CO2 embolism and bleeding scenarios, and decision-making and situational awareness for the embolism case. Assessment between resident (self) and expert (faculty) did not correlate (P < 0.05) for either scenario during the fall session. A correlation for both scenarios was appreciated following the spring session revealing resident non-technical skills improved over time. Other than for physical demand, NASA-Task Load Index scores were similar for both scenarios. Conclusions: We were able to successfully develop and implement a pilot Robotic Colorectal Surgery Non-Technical Skills curriculum in a risk-free simulated environment. Non-technical skill curriculums should be considered for both training and assessment in robotic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-398
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Colorectal surgical
  • Non-operative
  • Robotic skills
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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