Are surgeons born…or made?

Our courses are populated with “differentiated content”. When we develop a course, we begin by cataloging every potentially valuable knowledge component. From this list of subjects, we differentiate the content between that which is most effectively learned in a live classroom and that which the learner can acquire on their own via online resources. There are many excellent resources out there for online content, as well as theory and simulation. With us, you come to DO, not to watch. Your Faculty will show you once, and then guide your hands as you learn the touch, feel and the motions.

Our faculty do not parrot scripted content,
nor are they reading content from bulleted power points. Each course session starts with a short summary and discussion, sometimes with visual aid engage in interactive discussions with the attendees. We are more interested in what the participants wants to learn than delivering a list of subjects. We strive for the goal of relevant knowledge by adapting the discussion to each unique group of attendees. This places a big responsibility on our lecturers — they need to be able to pull from their own surgical experiences and often we find that discussions will continue in breaks and during lunch or dinner! (We have learnt to book tables far away from other restaurant guests!)

We maximize the amount of hands-on experience, especially for those concepts that hands-on experience will solidify. You will work in small groups, with plenty of time to learn from renowned experts with many years experience in their field.

Are surgeons born or made?
The notion of whether surgical experts are “born” or “made” references educational theory and pertinent literature. Peer-reviewed publications, books, and online resources on surgical education, expertise and training have been reviewed and important themes and aspects of expertise acquisition were identified in order to better understand the concept of a surgical expert.

Findings show that it seems innate talent plays an important role, but is insufficient on its own to produce a surgical expert. Multiple theories that explore motor skill acquisition and memory are relevant, and Ericsson’s theory of the development of competence followed by deliberate self-practice has been especially influential. Psychomotor and non-technical skills are necessary for progression in the current climate in light of any training curricula; surgical experts are adaptive experts who excel in these.

The literature suggests that surgical expertise is reached through practice; surgical experts are made, not born. A deeper understanding of the nature of expert performance and its development will ensure that surgical education training programmes are of the highest possible quality. Surgical educators should aim to develop an expertise-based approach, with expert performance as the benchmark.