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Invited Critique
July 2011

Just as the Twig Is Bent, the Tree's Inclined: Comment on “Transforming the Culture of Surgical Education”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Institute for Clinical Outcomes Research and Education (iCORE) and Department of Surgery, St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Arch Surg. 2011;146(7):835. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2011.161

Is there a more privileged position than to be trusted with handling the living tissues of an anesthetized patient, a task that the patient does not supervise or see? The tragedy of historical surgery was the limited insight into that responsibility, engendered by austere and dispassionate training processes. While independent surgical trainers once conferred professional standards on fledgling colleagues, all too often resulting in a haphazard and inconsistent product, human factors (HF) curricula recently filled the vacuum of the establishment. Whether you are an enthusiastic protagonist or vehement opponent of dedicated tuition in bedside manner and patient-centered directives, as well as staff and patient safety, they have become part of the profession. It is no longer adequate to have the desire and drive to be a surgeon. Irrespective of ability, outcome, right, or sense of entitlement, there will be structured processes to ensure that prospective surgeons meet standards in human as well as technical factors.

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