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Is there a role for the use of aviation assessment instruments in surgical training preparation? A feasibility study
  1. Aline C Stolk-Vos1,
  2. Marion H Heres2,
  3. Jasper Kesteloo3,
  4. Dick Verburg4,
  5. Frans Hiddema2,
  6. Desiree A Lie5,
  7. Dirk F de Korne6,7,8
  1. 1Health Services Research, Rotterdam Ophthalmic Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  2. 2Executive Board, Rotterdam Eye Hospital, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  3. 3Institute for Aviation Psychology, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  4. 4European Pilot Selection & Training, Utrecht, Netherlands
  5. 5Clinical Sciences, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, Singapore
  6. 6Medical Innovation & Care Transformation, KK Women's & Children's Hospital, SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, Singapore, Singapore
  7. 7Institute Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  8. 8Health Services & Systems Research, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dirk de Korne, KK Women's & Children's Hospital, SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, 100 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 229899, Singapore;{at}


Background Selection for surgical residency programmes could potentially be improved through pretraining preparation, after assessment of surgical candidates' sensorimotor skills and personality traits. Existing aviation pilot selection instruments are available to test sensorimotor skills and personality traits. This study examined selected instruments to assess medical trainees' sensorimotor skills and personality traits.

Methods Aviation's validated computer-based Computerized Pilot Aptitude and Screening System (COMPASS) and Checklist Professional Profile (CPP) were applied to 166 final year medical students during a surgical clerkship between 2013 and 2015.

Results All trainees completed COMPASS and CPP within the prescribed 2 hours. Compared with an age-matched and gender-matched cohort of 165 pilot candidates, medical trainees scored significantly higher on eye-hand coordination (p<0.001), need for variation (p<0.001), empathy (p=0.006), helpfulness (p<0.001) and autonomy (p<0.001). Pilot candidates scored higher on eye-hand-foot coordination (p<0.001), spatial orientation (p<0.001), persuasiveness (p<0.001), stress tolerance (p<0.001), dominance (p<0.001), ambition (p<0.001) and resilience (p<0.001).

Conclusions Final year medical trainees from one medical school were able to complete aviation's sensorimotor skills and personality traits selection instruments within the set time frame. They scored differently from aviation trainees on selected skills and personality traits. The applicability and utility of aviation instruments to presurgical training preparation remains to be tested.


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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. Two errors in the reference citation within the text on page 4 and 5 has been corrected.

  • Twitter Follow Dirk de Korne at @dirkdekorne

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This research was approved as exempt by the Rotterdam Eye Hospital's institutional review board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.