October 1996 Bulletin

Video helps faculty improve skills

In an effort to further enhance the Academy's surgical skills courses, the Committee on Surgical Skills Education has been looking into new ways to foster the communication and interaction between faculty and participants.

"Committee members routinely review evaluation forms after each course," said James P. Tasto, MD, member of the Committee on Surgical Skills Education. "While a majority of the evaluation forms contain positive comments, we also realize that improvements can be made to the courses."

The committee scheduled focus group sessions during several Orthopaedic Learning Center courses to gain insight about how the Academy could enhance its delivery of surgical skills education. Participants of the focus groups were asked what could be done to make their educational experience more rewarding.

Participants responded by stating that they wanted additional lab time to review specific procedures demonstrated by faculty; detailed explanations of surgical problems/pitfalls and how to avoid them; and extended question and answer periods.

The focus groups' suggestions were shared with future course chairmen. As a result, these format changes have been incorporated into many of the surgical skills courses to enhance the learning experience. Some course chairmen also decided to offer additional features to their courses.

The committee also developed a videotape that will be shown to faculty members prior to surgical skills courses. "Recent increases in the surgical skills courses has required enlisting additional faculty, and some of these educators are new to the Academy's CME programs," said Dr. Tasto. "The videotape helps familiarize them with the educational philosophy, and also reminds them of the 'dos and don'ts' for teaching in a laboratory setting."

The videotape presents a series of scenarios aimed at improving faculty and registrant interaction. "We use examples containing everyone's point of view," said Dr. Tasto. "But, we also stress in the video that fulfilling the registrant's educational expectations is the number one priority for faculty."

The videotape was shown for the first time at the Summer Institute in San Diego. A similar teaching tool is in the works for nonsurgical skills courses conducted by the Academy.


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