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Surgical Education
Theorising an Emerging Domain
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Main description:

Surgical Education: Theorising an Emerging Domain delineates surgical (as opposed to medical) education as a new and emerging field of academic enquiry. This reflects profound changes in healthcare training and practice on an international basis. As such, this book introduces, examines and explores the contribution of selected concepts and theories to surgical learning and practice. The first four chapters consider core facets of surgical education, such as simulation, while subsequent chapters take a key idea, often well known in another field, and examine its relevance to surgical education.

Of course, performing invasive procedures is no longer the exclusive preserve of ‘traditional’ surgeons. Boundaries between surgery and the interventional specialties (radiology, cardiology, intensive care) are becoming increasingly blurred, especially as technology continues to expand. Changing work patterns and explosive technological development mark this out as a major growth area. New educational approaches (e.g. the use of simulation) are emerging. And all clinical practice is a team activity, where clinicians from many specialties (medicine, nursing, allied professions) come together with shared goals. For all the above groups, and their patients, education (teaching, training, learning and assessment) is of crucial importance.

Yet the unique characteristics of surgical education have not previously been addressed from an educational perspective, nor have its possibilities as a new research domain been mapped. The domain needs to be theorised and its epistemological foundations established. There is thus both a need and a market for a definitive work in this area, aimed at surgeons, other clinicians, non-clinicians, educators, and others interested in this new domain.


Addresses need for surgical education material

Applies to related fields such as medical education

Includes contributions from well-respected authors

Emerging as distinct field with its own identity

Back cover:

This book delineates surgical education as a new and emerging field of academic enquiry. Surgical (as opposed to medical) education is emerging as a distinct field with its own identity. Surgeons have started to professionalise their educational role, and draw professional, non-surgeon educators into the field.

Surgery is a near unique environment of learning and practice.  The defining characteristic of ‘surgical’ specialties is the performance of invasive procedures, (alongside the myriad of diagnostic and other elements which are shared with other clinicians). This craft component is central to the surgeon’s role, as is teamworking.  Yet the unique characteristics of this field have been little addressed from an educational perspective, nor have its possibilities as a new research domain been mapped. This book thus seeks to explore surgical education from a number of dimensions, and draw attention to theorising it and establishing its epistemological foundations.At the same time it points to the essential links between theory and practice.

Surgical education is important and the initiative timely; the two main co-authors use their combined perspectives and expertise to map the domain’s co-ordinates. Complementing this strong sense of direction are invited chapters from carefully selected contributors, each an outstanding expert in his or her field. This book is aimed at surgeons, other clinicians, non-clinicians, educators, and others interested in this new domain.


1. The environment of surgical education and training: Roger Kneebone and Heather Fry.- 2. Educational ideas and surgical education: Heather Fry.- 3. Simulation: Roger Kneebone.- 4. Researching surgical education: Heather Fry, Nick Sevdalis, Roger Kneebone.- Part 2.-  5. Conceptualising surgical education assessment: Lambert W.T. Schuwirth and Cees P.M. van der Vleuten.- 6. The scalpel and the ‘mask’: threshold concepts and surgical education:       Ray Land and Jan H.F. Meyer.- 7.  The surgeon’s expertise: K Anders Ericsson.- 8. Current and future simulation and learning technologies: Fernando Bello and Harry Brenton.- 9. The role of patients: Debra Nestel and Linda Bentley.- 10. Self-monitoring in surgical practice: slowing down when you should: Carol- Anne Moulton and Ron Epstein.- 11. Learning and identity in the professional world of the surgeon: Alan Bleakley.- 12. Beyond ‘communication skills’: research in team communication and implications for surgical education: Lorelei Lingard.- 13. Surgical education: perspectives on learning, teaching and research: Gunther Kress.- Afterword: Roger Kneebone and Heather Fry.


ISBN-13: 9789400716827
Publisher: Springer (Springer Netherlands)
Publication date: September, 2011
Pages: 268

Subcategories: General


Heather Fry is Director (Education and Participation) at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).  Prior to joining HEFCE in 2008 she worked at universities in England and overseas, including at Imperial College London, and the Institute of Education and Barts and London Medical and Dental School, both University of London.  She also worked for many years as education faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.  She has taught and researched in a number of areas, including being joint founder and co-director of the UK’s first master’s in Surgical Education at Imperial, with Roger Kneebone. Her expertise is in the policy of higher and professional education and facilitating learning in these two contexts. She has published extensively across her varied areas of interest.

 Roger Kneebone is Reader in Surgical Education at Imperial College London. Roger trained first as a general surgeon, then changed course to become a general practitioner and GP trainer in a large group practice near Bath. In 2003, after completing his PhD in surgical education, Roger joined Imperial College London. His current research focuses on using simulation to contextualise clinical learning, and on mapping clinical environments from a pedagogical perspective. He has developed innovative approaches to learning and assessing clinical procedures (using hybrid combinations of models and simulated patients) and is currently developing lightweight, portable yet realistic surgical environments for training and assessment. Roger publishes extensively and directs Imperial’s Masters in Education (M Ed) in Surgical Education.