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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Association of a surgical task during training with team skill acquisition among surgical residents: the missing piece in multidisciplinary team training.

Sparks JL, Crouch DL, Sobba K, et al. JAMA surgery. 2017;152:818-825.

Multiple studies have linked poor teamwork and communication to adverse events in the operating room. There is a growing recognition that surgeons must learn these nontechnical skills during training in addition to the traditional focus on technical ability. In this controlled study, surgical residents participated in an educational intervention (a simulated surgical emergency) that simultaneously targeted technical and nontechnical skill development. The study used two different types of simulation—high fidelity (a cadaver) and medium fidelity (an anatomically correct mannequin)—compared to a control group, which used a nonanatomic simulator. Investigators found that nontechnical skills improved in both intervention groups compared to the control group, measured using validated teamwork assessments. As the accompanying editorial notes, the study findings indicate that technical and nontechnical skills may be best taught together, as teamwork skills improved when residents also had to perform a simulated surgical task simultaneously.