Designing Surgical Education Programs

  • Jennifer ChoiEmail author
  • Dimitrios Stefanidis
Part of the Innovation and Change in Professional Education book series (ICPE, volume 17)


Designing new residencies, fellowships, CME programs, or reentry programs can initially appear an overwhelming task, but identifying its major points makes this a manageable and worthwhile endeavor. In this chapter we explore surgical program design from the perspective of the ACGME General Surgery Residency Program. This framework can then be applied broadly to any surgical education program. Aspects considered in this chapter include choosing and developing faculty and administration; choosing the trainees; developing curriculum that is comprehensive in its approach to technical skills, medical knowledge, and nontechnical skills; and finally program evaluation and improvement.


Curriculum design Resources Faculty development Domains of surgical performance Educational strategies Assessment Program evaluation 


  1. 1.
    AAMC Physician Workforce Report 2015 2015 [cited 2017 June 16]. Available from:
  2. 2.
    Nuss, M. A., Robinson, B., & Buckley, P. F. A. (2015). Statewide strategy for expanding graduate medical education by establishing new teaching hospitals and residency programs. Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 90(9), 1264–1268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in General Surgery 2017–2018 2017 [cited 2017 June 16]. Available from:
  4. 4.
    Curriculum outline for general surgery 2017–2018 2017 [cited 2017 June 16]. Available from:
  5. 5.
    Allen, R. W., Pruitt, M., & Taaffe, K. M. (2016). Effect of resident involvement on operative time and operating room staffing costs. Journal of Surgical Education, 73(6), 979–985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Steinert, Y., Mann, K., Anderson, B., Barnett, B. M., Centeno, A., Naismith, L., et al. (2016). A systematic review of faculty development initiatives designed to enhance teaching effectiveness: A 10-year update: BEME guide no. 40. Medical Teacher, 38(8), 769–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kelly, A. V. (1977). The curriculum: Theory and practice. London: Harper and Row 202 p. p.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Adams, K. L., Adams, D. E., & NetLibrary Inc. (2003). Urban education a reference handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Available from: Scholar
  9. 9.
    Smith, M. K. (2000). Curriculum theory and practice’ the encyclopedia of informal education 1996. [Available from:
  10. 10.
    Kern, D. E. T. P., Howard, D. M., & Bass, E. B. (1998). Curriculum development for medical education: A six-step approach. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    SCORE Portal 2017 [Available from:
  12. 12.
    Reznick, R. K., & MacRae, H. (2006). Teaching surgical skills – changes in the wind. The New England Journal of Medicine, 355(25), 2664–2669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stefanidis, D., & Heniford, B. T. (2009). The formula for a successful laparoscopic skills curriculum. Archives of Surgery, 144(1), 77–82 discussion.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R., & Tesch-Romer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Stefanidis, D., Acker, C. E., & Greene, F. L. (2010). Performance goals on simulators boost resident motivation and skills laboratory attendance. Journal of Surgical Education, 67(2), 66–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stefanidis, D., Scerbo, M. W., Montero, P. N., Acker, C. E., & Smith, W. D. (2012). Simulator training to automaticity leads to improved skill transfer compared with traditional proficiency-based training: A randomized controlled trial. Annals of Surgery, 255(1), 30–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stefanidis, D. (2010). Optimal acquisition and assessment of proficiency on simulators in surgery. The Surgical Clinics of North America, 90(3), 475–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery 2016 [cited 2017 June 16]. Available from:
  19. 19.
    Fundamentals of endoscopic surgery 2016 [cited 2017 June 16].Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    ACS/ASE medical student simulation-based surgical skills curriculum 2016 2016 [cited 2017 June 16]. Available from:
  21. 21.
    ACS/APDS surgery resident skills curriculum 2017 [cited 2017 June 16]. Available from:
  22. 22.
    VandeKieft, G. K. (2001). Breaking bad news. American Family Physician, 64(12), 1975–1978.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Stefanidis, D., Anton, N., Howley, L., Bean, E., Yurco, A., Pimentel, M., et al. (2017). Effectiveness of a comprehensive mental skills curriculum in enhancing surgical performance: Results of a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Surgery, 213(2), 318–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Rao, A., Tait, I., & Alijani, A. (2015). Systematic review and meta-analysis of the role of mental training in the acquisition of technical skills in surgery. American Journal of Surgery, 210(3), 545–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Anton, N., Howley, L., Pimentel, M., Davis, C., Brown, C., & Stefanidis, D. (2016). Effectiveness of a mental skills curriculum to reduce novices’ stress. The Journal of Surgical Research, 206(1), 199–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hidden curriculum 2014 [cited 2017 June 16]. Available from:
  27. 27.
    Jarvis-Selinger, S., Pra, D., & Regehr, G. (2012). From competencies to identities: Reconsidering the goals of medical education. Academic Medicine, 87(9), 1185–1190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cruess, R. L., Cruess, S. R., & Steinert, Y. (2016). Amending Miller’s pyramid to include professional identity formation. Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 91(2), 180–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Cruess, R. L., Cruess, S. R., Boudreau, J. D., Snell, L., & Steinert, Y. (2014). Reframing medical education to support professional identity formation. Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 89(11), 1446–1451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    van der Vleuten, C. P., Schuwirth, L. W., Driessen, E. W., Dijkstra, J., Tigelaar, D., Baartman, L. K., et al. (2012). A model for programmatic assessment fit for purpose. Medical Teacher, 34(3), 205–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    van der Vleuten, C. P., Schuwirth. L. W., Driessen, E. W., Govaerts, M. J., Heeneman, S. (2014). 12 tips for programmatic assessment. Medical Teacher 1–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations