01 Aug 2022

By Dr. Anastasios Mitsakos

Medical education has always been an integral part of our profession as physicians and surgeons. From ancient times, the Hippocratic oath binds us “to teach this art, without fee or indenture; to impart precept, oral and all other instructions, to indentured pupils who have taken the Healer’s oath.” Especially considering the combination of art and science in the field of surgery, education of medical knowledge, as well as surgical technique, leads to the evolution of successful future leaders. Furthermore, the science behind educational practices has caused more and more surgeons to consider surgical education as an up-and-coming significant component in surgical research, with a lot of studies focusing on ways to improve continuous training, mentorship, and coaching for medical students, residents, and faculty.

A growing body of literature has focused on the importance of high-quality surgical education in residency training programs. In addition, constructive feedback has been shown to improve communication and education practices between educators and trainees. Various models have been used to that goal, in an attempt to facilitate the different learning and coaching styles. Intra-operative teaching has always been one of the cornerstones of surgical training and the Zwisch scale, as well as the BID model (Briefing-Intraoperative teaching-Debriefing), has assisted in providing appropriate feedback between the parties involved. More recently, phone apps such as the SIMPL app have provided residency programs with an easy and accessible way to have quick and objective feedback models for operative autonomy. Outside of the operating room, preparation for exams has been facilitated with the utilization of the SCORE curriculum, which has been increasingly used by residency programs with the goal of improving day-to-day resident education and increase in annual ABSITE scores and residency board exam pass rates.

Please join us on Monday, August 1, 2022, from 8-9 PM EST for an AWS TweetChat addressing topics such as the role of simulation in surgical training, the enhancement of trainee autonomy intra-operatively, studying and test-taking skills in preparation for ABSITE and residency board exams, and ways to improve medical student participation and evolution during the surgical rotation. Respondents will include Dr. Christian de Virgilio (@drdevirgilio), Dr. Mo Shabahang (@ShabahangMo), and Dr. Anastasios Mitsakos (@AnastasiosMits3). Questions will be posted directly from the @WomenSurgeons Twitter account. You can also find them by following the hashtag #AWSchat. If you have not participated in a tweet chat with us before, check out this tutorial written by Dr. Heather Yeo (@heatheryeomd) to know more. We will be discussing the following questions during our tweet chat: 

Q1: What are some of the deficiencies in surgery residency program education practices?

Q2: How can residents improve their intra-operative participation and autonomy?

Q3: What is the importance of simulation in current surgical education?

Q4: How can educators be more efficient in improving communication and mentorship with their trainees? 

Q5: What are some tips and advice for improvement in test-taking skills in annual ABSITE and residency board exams?

Anastasios Mitsakos, MD, was born in the beautiful city of Athens in Greece. He entered the Military Medical School at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki after high school, where he trained both as a physician and a navy officer. His continuous passion for improved training and advanced research and education led him to further pursue a career in the United States, where he came as a surgery resident at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. With a persistent interest in surgical education and the role of simulation in its advancement, Dr. Mitsakos completed a Surgical Education Research Fellowship during his research year in residency. Focusing on complex abdominal operations and amelioration in the delivery of cancer care, he recently managed to match in Surgical Oncology Fellowship and will be continuing his training starting next summer at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL.

Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and, as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.

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