Comparing the effects of physical practice and mental imagery rehearsal on learning basic surgical skills by medical students

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Scott and White Clinic, Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center, College Station, Tex, USA.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 4.7). 12/2004; 191(5):1811-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.07.075
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to test the effects of varying the amount of physical practice and mental imagery rehearsal on learning basic surgical procedures.
Using a sample of 65 second-year medical students, 3 randomized groups received either: (1) 3 sessions of physical practice on suturing a pig's foot; (2) 2 sessions of physical practice and 1 session of mental imagery rehearsal; or (3) 1 session of physical practice and 2 sessions of imagery rehearsal. All participants then performed a surgery on a live rabbit in the operating theater of a veterinary college under approved conditions. Analysis of variance was applied to pre- and post-treatment ratings of surgical performance.
Physical practice followed by mental imagery rehearsal was statistically equal to additional physical practice.
Initial physical practice followed by mental imagery rehearsal may be a cost-effective method of training medical students in learning basic surgical skills.

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    • "In many ways, surgical performance is similar to competitive sports performance: both require intense concentration, complex fine and gross motor ability, and both are routinely performed in dynamic environments characterised by considerable pressure (Rogers 2006). Indeed, many surgeons anecdotally report using their own intuitive and informal imagery strategies, by going over the procedure in their mind before actually operating (Sanders et al. 2004). Given these parallels between surgery and sports performance, it seems plausible that MP could be useful for reducing stress and enhancing performance in surgeons. "
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    ABSTRACT: This chapter aims to provide a state-of-the-art review of the application of mental imagery and mental practice (or motor imagery) within surgical contexts. We first explain the terms mental imagery (a form of cognitive simulation) and mental practice (or the covert rehearsal of an action in one's imagination without executing the actual movements involved) and summarise the main theories of mental practice effects. We then propose some important similarities between the skilled performance of surgeons and that of elite athletes, and we review the current status of surgical training-highlighting the growing popularity of simulation methods as a cost-effective alternative to the traditional apprenticeship model whereby novice surgeons hone their skills through repeated supervised experience of operating. Next, we review available empirical research on the efficacy of mental practice interventions in training surgical skills-with special emphasis on the key methodological issues afflicting research in this field. Finally, we present our conclusions and identify some fruitful avenues for further research on mental practice in surgery and surgical training. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
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    • "Bucher's (1993) study on nursing students showed that mental rehearsal plus physical practice produced the best performance of a skill which is in contrast to meta analyses on motor performance tasks indicating that physical practice alone is superior (Driskell, et al., 1994; Feltz & Landers, 1983). Sanders et al. (2004) showed that mental practice was as effective as physical practice in the performance of surgical skills. Likewise, most participants indicated that their imagery use helped them become a better AT which was consistent with our hypotheses; however, only 23% indicated that they had any formal training in imagery use. "
    Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity 01/2011; 6(1). DOI:10.2202/1932-0191.1064
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    ABSTRACT: Since the pre-flight safety briefing is a key method of communicating critical information to passengers, the regulatory authorities typically encourage airlines to be as interactive as possible in delivering this material. However, many airlines utilise video or 'cartoon' presentations to deliver the briefing because of pre-departure time pressures. Even where this is not the case, it is difficult for the cabin crew to deliver the briefing in an engaging manner on every flight. An experiment funded by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau Aviation Safety Research Grants Program was conducted in the Boeing 737 cabin simulator at Cranfield University to investigate the relative utility of passive and active safety briefings delivered by the cabin crew. Four groups of up to 40 members of the public took part as 'passengers' in eight evacuations, receiving either a passive or an active safety briefing. The passive safety briefing involved verbal delivery of the material, with the cabin crew demonstrating appropriate actions where necessary. The active briefing provided the same content, but required passengers to demonstrate the relevant activities along with the cabin crew. Passenger questionnaires completed after the evacuations showed that the active safety briefings were rated as significantly more useful than the passive safety briefings. Further, passengers who received the active safety briefing reported greater confidence in evacuating the cabin, and indicated that the active briefing would be more useful in a genuine emergency situation. Considerations for implementing the findings operationally are discussed.
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