The training of residents in otolaryngology and, indeed, in all surgical fields, is predicated on acquiring a number of skills. One of the most critical of these is technical capability—essentially, the ability to perform the operations intrinsic to the specialty. This skill is at the core of surgery and without it the trainee cannot and should not progress to completion of the training process. The certification boards (such as the American Board of Otolaryngology) have established certain benchmark procedures for comparisons across programs. For example, these benchmark procedures are used to trend what is being trained (such as diminished numbers of total laryngectomies in this age of conservation therapy) and also to track the distribution of numbers of cases a resident performs among programs nationwide. Residents are asked to go online to document the operations they performed as surgeon and assistant. These data are directed to ensuring that graduates of our residencies have acquired the skills to be safe and, hopefully, proficient surgeons.
Fried MP, Gallagher AG, Satava RM. Training to Proficiency: Aircraft to OR. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004;130(10):1145–1146. doi:10.1001/archotol.130.10.1145
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