Nontechnical Skills in Surgery: A Systematic Review of Current Training Modalities

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Background The complexity of the operating room requires a surgeon to have both technical ability and an array of nontechnical skills. The emphasis on technical skills during surgical training is well established, however it is deficiencies in nontechnical skills that have been identified as the main cause of errors in the operating room. Objective This systematic review aims to identify current methods used to teach nontechnical skills and how these methods are assessed to determine their validity, evidence, and role in training. Methods MEDLINE and Embase databases were searched for English language articles between 2000 and 2017 for nontechnical surgical skills training. Original research articles were included if they described non-technical surgical skills training modalities and their assessment. Results were assessed for the level of evidence and each modality was awarded a level of recommendation, using a modified educational Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine classification, as adapted by the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery. Results A total of 19 studies were identified pertaining to high fidelity simulation (n = 8), low fidelity simulation (n = 6), didactic teaching (n = 2) and crisis resource management (n = 3). Of the included studies 1 was classified Level 1b, 1 level 2b, 7 level 2b, 2 level 2c, and 8 level 3. Conclusion With the importance of nontechnical skills being increasingly recognized, it is essential for surgeons to receive adequate training in nontechnical skills. Therefore the most valuable teaching modalities such as high and low fidelity simulation needs to be implemented into surgical training curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
JournalJournal Of Surgical Education
Issue number1
Early online date16 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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