What do surgeons, elite-level athletes and professional musicians have in common? When they perform, the team -- be it a surgical team, a rowing team or choral ensemble -- must act harmoniously for the greatest chance of success. Athletic and musical coaching groups have developed very successful coaching strategies that improve the performance of their teams.

With this in mind, a team that included Dr. Kimberly Brown, a surgeon at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, a musical conductor/artistic director and a member of the U.S. National Rowing Team among others has produced a step-by-step coaching model that uses techniques and strategies from the musical and sports world and applied them to medical education -- specifically to train surgeons.

“It is critically important to devise innovative new models of surgical training to address the challenges of increasingly complex surgical procedures,” said Brown, UTMB associate professor of surgery. “When applied as a complete framework, the techniques and strategies used in our model operate together to allow for training sessions that lead to elite performance in both simulated and non-simulated events.” The components of their Conducting Elite Performance Training in Medicine model are currently available in a special edition of the journal, Surgical Clinics of North America that centers on simulation in surgical training and practice.

It has been shown that deliberate practice is crucial to expert performance. Deliberate practice, which entails setting a well-defined goal, being motivated to improve and having ample opportunities for practice and refinement of performance through structured feedback, is a hallmark of this model.

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