News & Editorial


September 6, 2018

Meeting challenges in continuing orthopaedic surgical education — Mr Dominic Power on LinkedIn

The Royal College of Surgeons’ continuing professional development (CPD) guidance calls for a mix of clinical, professional and academic learning each year[1]. Time and resource constraints within health systems mean that it can sometimes be difficult to balance continuous self-improvement through education with providing day-to-day care[2]. It’s hard to find time to learn new operative techniques. In fact, some experts say that educational opportunities are increasingly ‘being diluted … to allow the prioritisation of service provision’[2]. The key to meeting challenges in orthopaedic surgical education is to maximise training flexibility, connect learning to practice, and pursue high-quality education.

1. Education delivered online

Thirty-six percent of trainers report that they don’t feel they can fulfill their educator roles in the time allotted[4]. So what happens when there’s little room to pursue ‘see one, do one, teach one’? Learning new technical skills to both improve surgical care and meet the challenges of CPD/continuing medical education (CME) requirements means looking beyond traditional text-based didactic offerings. Digital delivery of educational modules helps maximise limited training time for surgeons, decreasing the need to travel off-site and increasing the flexibility and convenience of learning time.

2. Visuals that make a difference

In addition, education delivered online can provide the next best thing to being in the operating theatre when it comes to visuals – which are the key to making surgical technical training clinically effective[1]. Training that guides where to look and when, and connects what is being looked at to what needs to be done appears to expedite learning.1 Focusing on visual cues, it seems, helps surgeons maintain their attention when in action[1].

3. Assurance of quality

There’s little, if any, time to spend on CME/CPD that does not carry the assurance of quality that comes with accreditation. To maximise training time and the development of new technical skills, orthopaedic surgeons should seek relevant activities that will develop knowledge and skills. Although not all countries’ professional bodies require accreditation for surgeons’ CPD activities, this seal of approval “can guide surgeons to quality activities related to their practice”[4].


Note: Post originally appeared on LinkedIn.



1. Wilson MR, et al. Surg Endosc. 2011;25:3731–9.

2. Bell PR, Hampton S. Ulster Med J. 2014;83(2):118–9

3. Rimmer A. Accessed August 2018 at:

4. Royal College of Surgeons. Accessed August 2018 at:…/cpd-summary-guide-2014.pdf


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