Teaching Technical Skills Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The purpose of this study was to determine whether surgical residents could significantly improve their performance on a specific surgical procedure after a brief practice session with feedback. Attending plastic surgeons, using valid and reliable checklists and global rating scales, objectively assessed 37 junior surgical residents while performing two-flap Z-plasties on pig thighs (one before and one after a one-on-one, 5-minute practice session with feedback). The total cost per resident was $1.00 (Canadian currency). After the practice session, total checklist scores improved from 7.3 (range, 1 to 9) to 7.9 (range, 5 to 9), and the total global rating scores improved from 29.1 (range, 13 to 41) to 31.9 (range, 19 to 43). Paired Student's t tests revealed significant improvement in both the mean total checklist scores (p < 0.05) and mean total global rating scores (p < 0.01). Also, the global rating score for appearance and quality of the final surgical product significantly improved from 2.7 to 3.3 after the practice session (p < 0.01). There were no significant differences in performance scores between men and women, between first-year and second-year residents, with residents' previous experience with the Z-plasty procedure, or with resident's base surgical specialties. The results of this prospective study indicate that training on a simple and portable model with very brief individualized practice and feedback is an effective and inexpensive way of improving resident performance. A 5-minute practice session with a surgical trainee before performing a procedure on a living patient may significantly improve the patient's surgical performance and produce a superior result.

publication date

  • January 2002