Simulation for early years surgical training

Kenneth Walker* (Corresponding Author), Adarsh Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The shift from traditional apprenticeship models to competency-based curricula, compounded by working hour restrictions and rapid advances in surgical technology, has altered the delivery of early years surgical training. Simulation has been widely incorporated in other high-risk, high-reliability industries, but it has only just begun to be embedded in surgical programmes over the last two decades. In this article, we review key concepts in surgical simulation. Using Scotland's Core Surgical Training Programme as an example, we demonstrate the implementation of these concepts into a national integrated simulation strategy for early years surgical training. We highlight other global examples of simulation use in surgical curricula. The key messages for all stakeholders in surgical training are: (i) simulation is an adjunct to clinical training; (ii) simulation is a tool; however, it is not the tool that should be the main object of interest, but the learning for which it is used; and (iii) in the absence of a constructively aligned and purposeful programme that is valued by trainees, trainers and the training system, it is not enough to issue the kit, no matter how good the simulators are.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-777
Number of pages7
JournalSurgery (Oxford)
Issue number12
Early online date9 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • deliberate practice
  • non-technical skills
  • resident training
  • surgical education
  • Surgical training
  • laparoscopy
  • surgical training
  • simulation
  • Curriculum


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