HSS spine surgeons outline 5 keys to achieving peak performance in surgical training


The importance of peak performance in an evolving healthcare field that demands optimal clinical outcomes was highlighted in an article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, by Philip Louie, MD, and Michael McCarthy, MD.

The spine surgeons, both of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, outline five key areas to achieve peak performance during surgical training:

1. Translating practices from peak performers in other fields

  • Refine physical skills by improving mental engagement during a task.
  • Create a program for deliberate practice where you can undergo critical assessments to allow for graduated improvement.
  • Grow self-awareness through mindfulness activities to promote "flow" states.

2. Goal setting and accountability

  • Align goals with values, create a plan and visualize goals.
  • Identify an accountability system.
  • Anticipate obstacles and possible solutions.
  • Ensure work-life balance.
  • Reward goal accomplishment.

3. Developing technical skills

  • Seek opportunities outside the OR for skill acquisition.
  • Encourage the program director to consider new technologies, such as bioskills simulations and virtual reality training.
  • Identify activities that can improve areas requiring additional practice.

4. Perseverance and grit

  • Believe in constant change and grow.
  • Understand that frustrations are part of the process.
  • Focus on productivity.
  • Look for ways to make work more meaningful.
  • Practice deliberately.

5. Mentorship

  • Monitor, track and measure results of the mentorship relationship.
  • Define the strategic purpose of the mentorship.
  • Identify a strong match based on the skills of the mentor and the needs of the mentee.

The full article, "Reaching for Peak Performance During Surgical Training: The Value in Assessment Tools and Critical Performance Measures," appears in the September issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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