Feedback Versus Compliments Versus Both in Suturing and Knot Tying Simulation: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Kelsey R. Tieken, Grace Kelly, Jessica Maxwell, Michael R. Visenio, Jannelle Reynolds, Abbey L. Fingeret

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Suturing is an expected skill for students graduating from health professions programs. Previous studies investigated student experience with teaching sessions utilizing constructive feedback versus compliments but did not investigate the combination of both. Methods: In this parallel, randomized controlled trial, participants were divided into three groups: feedback (F), compliments (C), or feedback and compliments (FC). Participants received standardized instruction on simple interrupted suturing and two-handed knot-tying, and were videotaped performing this skill before and after the intervention. Performance was evaluated using a validated Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (OSATS) instrument. Participants completed a preintervention and postintervention survey rating their task enjoyment and self-assessment of performance. Analysis was performed to determine differences between and within the groups using Kruskal–Wallis, Wilcoxon rank-sum, and Mann–Whitney U tests. Results: A total of 31 students participated: 11 in C, 10 in F, and 10 in FC. The groups had similar preintervention OSATS scores. The F and FC groups demonstrated significant improvement in OSATS score after intervention, group C was not significantly different: F median of 11.25-19.75 points (P = 0.002); FC median of 11.75-21 points (P = 0.002); C median of 13-14 points (P = 0.2266). Between the groups FC and F both had significant performance improvement compared with C (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001 respectively). The FC group had a significantly higher rating of their enjoyment of the task on the postintervention survey compared with both the C and F groups with a median rating of 10 compared with 8 and 8 (P = 0.0052 and P = 0.0126, respectively). Conclusions: The combination of feedback and compliments was associated with improvement in performance on suturing and knot-tying similar to the feedback-only group. The FC group rated a higher level of enjoyment of the activity compared to feedback or compliments alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Education
  • Feedback
  • Knot-tying
  • Simulation
  • Suturing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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