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Clinical Skills

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Scottish Mastery Conference

The 5th Scottish Mastery Learning Conference in Larbert (15 August 2018) was scheduled a little earlier than planned to enable a group of delegates from Chicago, including Jeff Barsuk to present. Unfortunately, Prof Barsuk had to cancel his appearance at short notice due to ill health, but in his place, we were treated to presentations and workshops from Professor Eric Hungness, Professor of Upper GI & Bariatric Surgery and Medical Education and Prof David Salzman, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medical Education. Prof Hungness and Prof Salzman are members of the same team from Feinberg Medical School in Northwestern University, and the team now has a huge amount of experience in using simulation-based mastery learning for practical procedures. 

After a warm welcome and introduction by Michael Moneypenny, Paul Fettes gave a brief recap of developments in Scotland to date, as well as highlighting the opportunities for working together to develop national guidelines and standardised practice in our compact nation. 

Professor Hungness then gave a lecture on the teaching of practical procedures by Mastery Learning which has been pioneered in Northwestern University by Bill McGaghie and Jeff Barsuk, and now has a huge evidence base to support its practice. Prof Hungness gave an excellent summary of this work, and also shared his successful experience of teaching a complex operation (common bile-duct exploration) using mastery learning.    

Prof Salzman then ran three excellent workshops on curriculum design using mastery learning, standard setting techniques in mastery learning and deliberate practice in mastery learning. Prof Salzman is responsible for simulation education for medical students in Feinberg. Simulation based mastery learning is widely used for teaching practical procedures in Feinberg, but it is also used for some communication skills teaching such as breaking bad news to a relative. He has a wealth of experience of teaching in this way and the workshops were well received. The standard setting workshop explained the Angoff Method, and also the Hofsee Method before explaining a modified mastery learning approach to standard setting with the Angoff Method where setters consider a doctor who is well prepared to perform the procedure safely and successfully on live patients with minimal supervision. The deliberate practice workshop used suturing as a procedure and focused on the feedback given by the tutor rather than the performance of the task. The workshops were clearly thought provoking and generated a lot of discussion. 

To finish off James Tiernan led a discussion about national and international collaboration. As well as further national meetings, and national collaborative work it was suggested that a trainee network would be productive and useful. This was met with general approval and the offer of local consultant supervision. 

There were about 35 delegates who came from all over Scotland and from a range of backgrounds, predominantly medical, although there were some dentists from Dundee Dental School, some nurses, resuscitation officers and clinical skills tutors. The doctors included two surgeons as well as physicians, emergency physicians and the rather inevitable batch of anaesthetists.  

The next Scottish National Mastery Learning Conference will be held in Spring 2019. 

Following the Larbert conference, Prof Hungness and Prof Salzman (accompanied by their Simulation Centre manager Elizabeth Wylie) came to Dundee where Prof Hungness talked at the hospital ‘Grand Round’ before Prof Salzman led workshops on curriculum design and deliberate practice.  This was followed by a similar visit to Edinburgh the following day. Thankfully there was also bit of time in the schedule for less work orientated pursuits. The group stayed in Edinburgh old town and visited Edinburgh Castle as well as Mary King’s Close. This ensured that they got to sample fish and chips and some single malt whisky.  

I hope and trust that they enjoyed their visit. We certainly appreciated it.  


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