Acquiring surgical skills

Br J Surg. 2000 Jan;87(1):28-37. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2168.2000.01327.x.


Background: Technical competence is the bedrock of surgery, yet it has only recently been viewed as a valid area for either critical evaluation or formal teaching.

Methods: This review examines the teaching of surgical skills. The core is derived from a literature search of the Medline computer database.

Results and conclusion: The impetus for surgical change has generally related to the introduction of new technology. Advances initially allowed for open operation within the main body cavities; more recently minimal access surgery has appeared. The latter was introduced in an inappropriate manner, which has led to the evolution of teaching of technical skills away from an apprenticeship-based activity towards more formal skill-based training programmes. There is now a need for a solid theoretical base for the teaching of manual skills that accommodates concepts of surgical competence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical / methods
  • Family Practice / education
  • Family Practice / standards
  • General Surgery* / education
  • General Surgery* / standards
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Judgment
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / standards
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Patient Simulation
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Teaching / methods