Assessing surgical skill using bench station models
ABSTRACT The acquisition of surgical skill is one of the essentials of good surgical practice. The training of plastic surgeons is presently unstructured, with few objective measures of surgical skill. The trainee's time to acquire skills may be inadequate because of the shortened time for training with the Calman system. There is also increasing pressure from the government to introduce testing of surgical competency for all surgeons. The authors introduce a series of tasks that allow assessment of technical skill among plastic surgical trainees.
A range of surgeons with differing surgical skill were tested. They performed three tasks designed to assess their ability to suture skin, take a medium-thickness skin graft, and repair a tendon. The candidates were videotaped during the procedures and scored by four independent observers using the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skill scoring system. Each candidate was then given an overall competence score.
Sixty-five candidates were tested with an experience range from consultant to junior senior health officer. Results showed significant differences down the grades, with consultants performing the tasks with greater competency than their juniors (p = 0.004).
The authors have demonstrated a valid and reliable method of objectively measuring the surgical skill of plastic surgical trainees. The authors have shown that consultants perform better than the juniors and that the tasks are easily reproduced. This has implications for future assessment in that these tests may be used as formal assessment programs for testing and teaching trainees throughout their careers.
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 06/2008; 121(5):1869-70. DOI:10.1097/PRS.0b013e31816b19bc · 3.33 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Multimedia delivery of cognitive content paired with faculty-supervised partial task simulation for both excision of a simulated skin lesion with subsequent wound closure and hand-sewn bowel anastomosis would be an effective method for developing appropriate procedural skills among junior residents. Prospective cohort study. University-based surgical residency. First- and second-year surgical residents (n = 45). Surgical residents were given comprehensive instructional materials, including structured curricula with goals and objectives, text, figures, and narrated expert digital video, before the training session. A 4-hour, standardized, laboratory-based instruction session was then performed in small groups, which emphasized faculty-supervised practice. Residents were asked to (1) excise a skin lesion and close the wound and (2) perform hand-sewn bowel anastomosis. These 2 tasks were assessed before and after supervised practice. Performances were video recorded. Residents were surveyed before and after training. Time to completion and Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skill global rating scale score based on video recordings were evaluated by blinded reviewers. Final product quality was measured by anastomotic leak pressure and by wound closure aesthetic quality. Residents perceived the laboratory training to be equal to training in the operating room for skin closure and superior to training in the operating room for bowel anastomosis. Residents perceived time spent on both tasks to be "perfect." Mean objective scores improved significantly on 5 of 6 outcome measures. Junior resident surgical performance improved substantially with 4 hours of laboratory-based, faculty-supervised practice. Both first- and second-year residents benefited from this training. These data show that curriculum-driven, faculty-supervised instruction in a laboratory setting is beneficial in the training of junior surgical residents.Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill.: 1960) 10/2008; 143(9):852-8; discussion 858-9. DOI:10.1001/archsurg.143.9.852 · 4.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Educational programmes, designed to meet the training needs of General Practitioners (GPs) performing minor surgical procedures, have previously been shown to increase their surgical workload. The change in the level of competence following these programmes has not been assessed. The aims of this study were two-fold: to evaluate the vertical mattress suture for construct validity and to assess the impact of plastic surgery training on the surgical skill of GPs. Thirty non-consultant hospital doctors and 27 self-selected GPs were included. Using a modified objective structured assessment of technical skills (OSATS) scoring system, construct validity of the vertical mattress suture was confirmed. The median total OSATS score was 16 points (26.7%) in the novice group (medical registrars), 38.5 points (64.2%) in the intermediate group (surgical SHOs) and 59 points (98.3%) in the expert group (surgical registrars, p<0.001, Kruskal-Wallis test). Objective assessment in the GP group immediately following practical instruction revealed a median overall improvement of 31.7% (19 points) in total OSATS scores (p<0.001, Friedman non-parametric test, F). At six months follow-up all course participants had improved compared to their baseline. A median overall improvement of 13 points (21.7%) was noted (p<0.001, F). However, the majority (80%, n=20) had deteriorated from the standard set immediately after the course with a median overall reduction in total OSATS scores of six points (10%, p=0.001, F). Plastic surgery training is immediately efficacious in improving the technical proficiency of GPs. Through objective assessment of a standardised suture task we demonstrated a low rate of educational decay of 10% over a six-month period.Journal of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery 06/2009; 63(7):1156-62. DOI:10.1016/j.bjps.2009.05.023 · 1.47 Impact Factor