Attitudes to Surgical Trainee-Led Research Collaboratives – ReSurgEnt Survey

A collaboration between the NWRC, SPARCS and the University of Bristol

Questionnaire based study of surgical trainees in the UK

ReSurgEnt protocol (click to download)

1.    Background

After the first of the trainee led surgical research collaboratives was established in 2007, their number has seen a rapid growth between 2010 and 2015 and are now well established in the UK. Both regional and national collaboratives encompass various surgical subspecialties with general surgery the predominant speciality[1]. They provide the opportunity for large-scale multicentre studies to be performed in a relatively short time-frame, enhancing recruitment and involving trainees at all grades, from medical student through to senior registrar[2]. Furthermore, a recent study of 241 general surgical centres in the UK found 99% cumulative participation in trainee collaborative studies in 2015-16, with an increase from 44% in 2012. This was higher than the 79% which participated in NIHR studies, and included 15 observational studies and 3 randomised controlled trials[3].

Despite the success of trainee-led surgical research collaboratives, there are still ongoing discussions about the recognition of trainee contributions by surgical training committees and the UK Foundation Programme. Currently, each surgical speciality has its own requirements for gaining the certificate of completion of training (CCT), often including first author publications, however, there is no framework in place for recognizing individual contributions to collaborative research. Although, involvement in research may be mandatory for some CCT’s, collaborative research is not, and, where there has been widespread involvement in studies, not all trainees have been involved.

Each individual will have their own reasons for participating, and although one may postulate that this may be for patient benefit or to improve their academic CV, reasons for non-participation are likely to be speculation. Some trainees may have no involvement, are currently involved, or have been involved at some stage in the past, but have now left. It is important for the collaborative networks to understand all these reasons and to identify what encourages participation, and what inhibits it. Further appreciation of these factors would help to develop a framework for recognition of the hard work and contribution trainees make to high-quality surgical research studies.

2.    Aim

The aims of the study are to assess the following:

  • What factors encourage trainees to get involved in surgical trainee research collaboratives?
  • What factors discourage trainees from getting involved in surgical trainee research collaboratives?
  • Is there a relationship between number of publications and the involvement in surgical trainee research collaboratives?
  • Does involvement in surgical trainee research collaboratives differ depending on baseline demographics?

3.    Methods & study design

A specially designed questionnaire (Section 4) will be circulated to core and specialist trainees of all surgical specialties. This will be done by emailing the relevant trainee administrator at each deanery with a link to the questions which will be hosted on Bristol Online Surveys (BOS)

There are 17 Deaneries, each of which have responsibility for the delivery of surgical training for the specialities in their region. Each of these specialities, for both core surgical training and higher surgical training, normally have a designated administrator that looks after the teaching and training and the distribution of email and training information. It is common to be contacted by trainees performing research via this mailing list as it does not require sharing of contact information in each region. No personally identifiable data will be obtained. The contact details of these administrators are readily available in the public domain and each will receive a deanery and speciality specific email.

Responses will be collated and analysed using a statistical software package. Information regarding the number of trainees in each deanery and for each specialty will be requested in order to identify a response rate. All responses will be anonymised.

Inclusion Criteria

All trainees currently in surgical specialty training in the UK between Core training year 1 and the final year of Higher Specialist training.

Exclusion Criteria

All others

Dissemination of results

Results will be collated with the aim to be presented at the National Research Collaborative Meeting in late 2017. A manuscript will be prepared with the aim to be published in a peer reviewed journal.

Steering group

Nick Heywood – General Surgical Registrar, University Hospital of South Manchester
Natalie Blencowe – NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Surgery, University of Bristol and SPARCS
Hema Sekhar – General Surgical Registrar and Christie Research Fellow, Northwest Deanery
Athene Lane – Trials and methodology research, University of Bristol
Rachel Foster – Core Surgical Trainee, Northwest Deanery
Clare Clement Qualitative Research & Trials Methodology, University of Bristol
Karen Coulman – Questionnaire and Trials Methodology, University of Bristol
James Glasbey – NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow
Helen Mohan – General Surgical Registrar and President of the Assosciation of Surgeons in Training
Jane Blazeby – Professor of Surgery, University of Bristol


[1]         A. A. B. Jamjoom, P. N. H. Phan, P. J. Hutchinson, and A. G. Kolias, “Surgical trainee research collaboratives in the UK: an observational study of research activity and publication productivity,” BMJ Open, vol. 6, no. 2, Feb. 2016.

[2]         A. Bhangu, A. G. Kolias, T. Pinkney, N. J. Hall, and J. E. Fitzgerald, “Surgical research collaboratives in the UK,” The Lancet, vol. 382, no. 9898. pp. 1091–1092, 2013.

[3]         D. Nepogodiev, S. J. Chapman, A. G. Kolias, J. E. Fitzgerald, M. Lee, and N. S. Blencowe, “The effect of trainee research collaboratives in the UK.,” The lancet. Gastroenterology & hepatology, vol. 2, no. 4. Netherlands, pp. 247–248, Apr-2017.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close