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How can surgical training benefit from theories of skilled motor development, musical skill acquisition and performance psychology?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew McCaskie, Dr Sandeep Deshmukh


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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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McCaskie AW, Kenny DT, Deshmukh S

Publication type: Editorial

Publication status: Published

Journal: Medical Journal of Australia

Year: 2011

Volume: 194

Issue: 9

Pages: 463-465

Print publication date: 01/05/2011

ISSN (print): 0025-729X

ISSN (electronic): 1326-5377

Publisher: Australasian Medical Publishing Company Pty. Ltd.