Although there is considerable interest in the use of simulation for the acquisition of fundamental surgical skills through goal-directed practice in a safe environment, there is little evidence guiding educators on how best to implement simulation within surgical skills curricula. This article reviews the application of the expert performance model in surgery and the role of simulation in surgical skills acquisition. The focus is on implementation of deliberate practice, highlighting the principles of part-task training, proficiency-based training and overtraining. With resident and educator time at a premium, the identification of an optimally effective and efficient training strategy has significant implications for how surgical skills training is incorporated into residency programs, which is critical in today's environment.
Copyright © 2011 Association of Program Directors in Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.