Curated collections for educators: Six key papers on teaching procedural skills

AEM Educ Train. 2021 Aug 1;5(4):e10692. doi: 10.1002/aet2.10692. eCollection 2021 Aug.


Background: Competence in teaching procedural skills is required for faculty in all specialties. Regardless of involvement in undergraduate medical education (UME) versus graduate medical education (GME), faculty will likely be involved in teaching procedures to novice learners at some point, with the goal of having the learner achieve graduated independence and technical competence in a skill set. A large body of literature exists addressing the best practices for teaching and maintaining procedural skills. We searched for articles that describe the best practices for teaching procedural skills to all levels of learners.

Methods: We conducted a literature search for papers on procedural skills training and teaching. We also made a call for papers on social media from members of the online #MedEd and #FOAMed communities. Once a list of the articles was compiled, we conducted a three-round modified Delphi process to identify those illustrating best practices for teaching procedural skills by both junior and senior faculty.

Results: We identified 98 relevant articles on the topic of procedural skills training. Six articles were deemed to be highly relevant after three rounds of the modified Delphi. Best practices included using an established educational framework when designing procedural skills teaching sessions, providing positive feedback to learners with opportunities for improvement, and demonstrating the procedure to the learners.

Conclusions: Medical educators should employ evidence-based practices when designing and delivering procedural skills sessions. Educational frameworks provide faculty developers and facilitators with an organized approach to teaching these sessions. Maintenance of procedural skills over time is key; faculty can utilize simulation-based procedural training and deliberate practice to prevent decay of learned skills.