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Non-technical skills: a review of training and evaluation in urology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1653-1661
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Urology
Issue number7
Early online date17 Sep 2019
Accepted/In press20 Aug 2019
E-pub ahead of print17 Sep 2019
Published1 Jul 2020


King's Authors


PURPOSE: With non-technical skills (NTS) deficits being recognised as a major cause for error in surgery, there is an increasing interest in their training and evaluation. A growing number of training courses are emerging and some NTS curricula have also been created. Many different training methods are described in the literature but there is still uncertainty with regards to their optimum combination within a curriculum.

METHODS: A literature review of the electronic database Medline was performed. All articles published before December 2018 were screened by abstract and included if deemed relevant by the author. The included articles' reference lists were also screened for further relevant studies.

RESULTS: Simulation training is accepted as the most effective way to train NTS. Within simulation training, it is shown that the 'igloo' full immersion/distributed simulation environment is appropriate for teaching NTS in urological scenarios where a designated operating room or space is not available. The use of multiple settings, for example wards and clinics as well as the operating room, is advantageous, as is training in an interprofessional team. Classroom teaching also plays a role in NTS training as an adjunct to simulation, with evidence that it improves some parameters of NTS. All levels, including qualified surgeons, benefit from NTS training; however, adaptation to both trainee level and specialty is important. Although less time consuming, training juniors and seniors together mainly benefits juniors, and training NTS at the same time as technical skills detracts from the quality of teaching. Debriefing is an important part of training and should be well structured; there are many debriefing models in existence, allowing for choice of method based on examiner preference and participant demographic. Furthermore, examiners should be well briefed in their task and trained in NTS assessment.

CONCLUSION: To move forward, studies should combine tried and tested learning techniques into a curriculum covering all training levels, which should then be validated and followed up long term to ensure a positive impact on patient safety.

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