Perspectives in Medical Education
Professor Jennifer Cleland gives her thoughts in this article on the "Highland Surgical Boot Camp" and the use of simulation within medical education.
"One day at work, I took a ‘cold call’ from a general surgeon, based in my University’s second campus, about 130 miles away from where I am based. Ken and his colleagues had designed the ‘Highland Surgical Boot Camp’, an intensive, four-day simulation experience using experiential learning and hands-on practice to learn new skills and knowledge in a safe environment, based on the principles of a military Boot Camp. While well-established in the USA, Highland Surgical Boot Camp was the first of its kind in the UK, aimed at new surgical trainees, and designed to accelerate learners’ transition from the UK Foundation Program (the first two years of generic training after medical school) into the surgical training pathway.
The educational content differed from published accounts of Boot Camps as it included simulation-rich training in non-technical and communication skills, as well as operative (technical) surgical skills. Sessions included a ‘wet lab’ (which focused on learning suturing skills), simulated ward round, letter writing sessions and role play of difficult consultations. ‘Memorable case’ narrative sessions were designed to recreate the coffee-room discussions of the apprenticeship model. Formal social events were incorporated into the program and informal socialisation among learners was encouraged."