Nontechnical skill training and the use of scenarios in modern surgical education

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Nontechnical skills are being increasingly recognized as a core reason of surgical errors. Combined with the changing nature of surgical training, there has therefore been an increase in nontechnical skill research in the literature. This review therefore aims to: define nontechnical skillsets, assess current training methods, explore assessment modalities and suggest future research aims.

Recent findings

The literature demonstrates an increasing understanding of the components of nontechnical skills within surgery. This has led to a greater availability of validated training methods for its training, including the use of didactic teaching, e-learning and simulation-based scenarios. In addition, there are now various extensively validated assessment tools for nontechnical skills including NOTSS, the Oxford NOTECHS and OTAS. Finally, there is now more focus on the development of tools which target individual nontechnical skill components and an attempt to understand which of these play a greater role in specific procedures such as laparoscopic or robotic surgery.

Summary

Current evidence demonstrates various training methods and tools for the training of nontechnical skills. Future research is likely to focus increasingly on individual nontechnical skill components and procedure-specific skills.

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