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Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (DOPS)

The DOPS is used to assess the trainee’s technical, operative and professional skills in a range of basic diagnostic and interventional procedures, or parts of procedures, during routine surgical practice in order to facilitate developmental feedback. The method is a surgical version of an assessment tool originally developed and evaluated by the UK Royal Colleges of Physicians.

The DOPS is used in simpler environments and can take place in wards or outpatient clinics as well as in the operating theatre. DOPS is set at the standard for Core Surgical Training (CT1/ST1 and CT2/ST2) although some specialties may also use specialty level DOPS in higher specialty training.

The DOPS form can be used routinely every time the trainer supervises a trainee carrying out one of the specified procedures, with the aim of making the assessment part of routine surgical training practice. The procedures reflect the index procedures in each specialty syllabus which are routinely carried out in the trainees’ workplace.

The assessment involves an assessor observing the trainee perform a practical procedure within the workplace. Assessors do not need to have prior knowledge of the trainee. The assessor’s evaluation is recorded on a structured form that enables the assessor to provide verbal developmental feedback to the trainee immediately afterwards. Trainees are encouraged to choose a different assessor for each assessment but one of the assessors must be the current Assigned Educational Supervisor. Most procedures take no longer than 15-20 minutes. The assessor will provide immediate feedback to the trainee after completing the observation and evaluation. Feedback would normally take about 5 minutes.

The DOPS form is completed for the purpose of providing feedback to the trainee. The overall rating on any one assessment can only be completed if the entire procedure is observed. A judgement will be made on completion of the placement about the overall level of performance achieved in each of the assessed surgical procedures

DOPS Form DOPS Guidance Tips for using DOPS

Specialty Specific DOPS forms

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