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Exploring educational models within the operating room
  1. James Ashcroft
  1. Department of Surgery, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr James Ashcroft, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK; jamesashcroft36{at}

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Surgical training has a long history of unique educational approaches and communities of practice, historically driven by exclusion of surgeons from the medical world.1 The Hippocratic Oath sworn by physicians states ‘I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favour of such men as are engaged in this work’, which permits an understanding of how surgical practice previously split from the medical profession and with no authoritative institution adopted an apprenticeship-type training.2 This apprenticeship model still plays a prominent role in modern-day resident training in the operating room, particularly with regard to the development of meaningful personal interactions between the trainee and the trainer, and trust when performing and assisting in delicate aspects of a procedure.1 However, structured surgical training in England began to take form following the Calman reforms in the 1990s, which called for extensive trainee assessments including the introduction of surgical membership examinations, and the Modernising Medical Careers movement in 2005 and the Shape of Training report in 2013, which defined postgraduate competencies required at each stage of training.3–5

The most recent change to surgical training in England was the introduction of the Improving Surgical Training pilot, which emphasises the importance of long-term attachments to trained and committed supervisors to improve the development of surgical skills.5 Through these reforms surgical training has evolved to include standardised training as part of an Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme in the form of workplace-based assessments, including case-based discussions, direct observations of procedural skills and multisource multidisciplinary feedback assessments.3 The recording and assessment of these supervised learning events forms a curriculum which allows for the evaluation of both technical and non-technical competencies of the learner and generates a benchmark for surgical trainees to progress in seniority.3 This …

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  • Contributors JA undertook conceptualisation and production of this article. JA is the guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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