Practice Makes Perfect? The Role of Simulation-Based Deliberate Practice and Script-Based Mental Rehearsal in the Acquisition and Maintenance of Operative Neurosurgical Skills

Neurosurgery (Impact Factor: 3.62). 01/2013; 72:A124-A130. DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318270d010


Despite significant advances in technology and intraoperative techniques over the last century, operations on the brain and spinal cord continue to carry a significant risk of serious morbidity or mortality. Potentially avoidable technical errors are well recognized as contributing to poor surgical outcome. Surgical education is undergoing overwhelming change, in part as a result of changes in the economic, political, social, cultural, and technological climates in which it operates. Shortened training, reductions in the working week, economic difficulties, and increasing emphasis on patient safety have required educators to radically rethink the way in which surgical education is delivered. This has resulted in the development of simulation technology, mental script-based rehearsal, and simulation-based deliberate practice. Although these tools and techniques are garnering increasing evidence for their efficacy, the evidence for their use in neurosurgery is somewhat more limited. Here, we review the theory behind these tools and techniques and their application to neurosurgery. We conclude that further research into the utility of these tools and techniques is essential for determining their widespread adoption. If they ultimately prove to be successful, they may have a central role in neurosurgical training in the 21st century, improving the acquisition of technical skills in a specialty in which a technical error can result in grave consequences. ABBREVIATION: LC, laparoscopic cholecystectomy

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    • "Without exception , these studies demonstrate consistent and robust improvements in clinical performance based on deliberate practice principles. Simulation-based deliberate practice studies in medicine versus nursing are also more likely to use research designs that include preintervention baseline measurement and comparison groups (Kessler, Auerbach, Pusic, Tunik, & Foltin, 2011; Marcus, Vakharia, Kirkman, Murphy, & Nandi, 2013; McGaghie et al., 2011). "
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    Clinical Simulation in Nursing 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.ecns.2014.10.005
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