Trainee surgeons must acquire expert status in the context of reduced hours, reduced operating room time and the need to learn complex skills involving screen-mediated techniques, computers and robotics.
Ever more sophisticated surgical simulation strategies have been helpful in providing surgeons with the opportunity to practise, but not all of these strategies are widely available.
Similarities in the motor skills required in skilled musical performance and surgery suggest that models of music learning, and particularly skilled motor development, may be applicable in training surgeons.
More attention should be paid to factors associated with optimal arousal and optimal performance in surgical training — lessons learned from helping anxious musicians optimise performance and manage anxiety may also be transferable to trainee surgeons.
The ways in which the trainee surgeon moves from novice to expert need to be better understood so that this process can be expedited using current knowledge in other disciplines requiring the performance of complex fine motor tasks with high cognitive load under pressure.
- 1. Sealy WC. Halsted is dead: time for change in graduate surgical education [editorial]. Curr Surg 1999; 56: 34-39.
- 2. Reznick RK, MacRae H. Teaching surgical skills — changes in the wind [editorial]. N Engl J Med 2006; 355: 2664-2669.
- 3. Jackson G, Tarpley JL. How long does it take to train a surgeon? BMJ 2009; 339: 1062-1064.
- 4. O’Grady G, Loveday B, Harper S, et al. Working hours and roster structures of surgical trainees in Australia and New Zealand. ANZ J Surg 2010; 80: 890-895.
- 5. Seymour NE, Gallagher AG, Roman SA, et al. Virtual reality training improves operating room performance: results of a randomized, double-blinded study. Ann Surg 2002; 236: 458-464.
- 6. van der Meijden OAJ, Schijven MP. The value of haptic feedback in conventional and robot-assisted minimal invasive surgery and virtual reality training: a current review. Surg Endosc 2009; 23: 1180-1190.
- 7. Agha R. Interview with Professor Earl Owen by Professor Carola Grindea. Int J Surg 2006; 17 Sep. http://www.theijs.com/article/article_full.php?aid=140 (accessed Apr 2011).
- 8. Ericsson KA, Krampe RT, Tesch-Römer C. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychol Rev 1993; 100: 363-406.
- 9. Wulf G, Shea C, Lewthwaite R. Motor skill learning and performance: a review of influential factors. Med Educ 2010; 44: 75-84.
- 10. Watson AHD. What can studying musicians tell us about motor control of the hand? J Anat 2006; 208: 527-542.
- 11. Boyd T, Jung I, Sickle KV, et al. Music experience influences laparoscopic skills performance. JSLS 2008; 12: 292-294.
- 12. Rosser JC, Lynch, PJ, Cuddihy L, et al. The impact of video games on training surgeons in the 21st century. Arch Surg 2007; 142: 181-186.
- 13. Aziz-Zadeh L, Ivry R. The human mirror neuron system and embodied representations. Adv Exp Med Biol 2009; 629: 355-376.
- 14. Gazzola V, Rizzolatti G, Wicker B, Keysers C. The anthropomorphic brain: the mirror neuron system responds to human robotic actions. NeuroImage 2007; 35: 1674-1684.
- 15. Suzuki S. Ability development from age zero. Miami, FL: Warner Brothers Publications, 1981.
- 16. Arora S, Aggarwal R, Moran A, et al. Mental practice: effective stress management training for novice surgeons. J Am Coll Surg 2011; 212: 225-233.
- 17. Kenny DT. The role of negative emotions in performance anxiety. In: Juslin P, Sloboda J, editors. Handbook of music and emotion: theory, research, applications. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009.
- 18. Abernethy B, Poolton JM, Masters RSW, Patil NG. Implications of an expertise model for surgical skills training. ANZ J Surg 2008; 78: 1092-1095.
- 19. Milton J, Solodkin A, Hlutík P, Small SL. The mind of expert motor performance is cool and focused. Neuroimage 2007; 35: 804-813.
- 20. Suinn RM. Behavioral intervention for stress management in sports. Int J Stress Manag 2005; 12: 343-362.
- 21. Song S. Consciousness and the consolidation of motor learning. Behav Brain Res 2009; 196: 180-186.
- 22. Vouhé PR. The surgeon and the musician. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2011; 39: 1-5.
- 23. Pinker S. Brain gain [editorial]. Cosmos 2011; 37: 98-99.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.