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Interview: Richard Reznick

In this abridged preview from the December 2018 edition of Surgeons' News, ICOSET keynote speaker Dr Richard Reznick shares his passion for training.

You are passionate about competency-based training and training programmes and Canada is leading the way in this field. What role does faculty development play?
Faculty development played a critical role in the transition of our programmes to competency based medical education (CBME). This group was an integral part of CBME transformation and had the responsibility for leading 10 faculty workshops. They were part of the strategy group in defining an appropriate change-management process. Simply stated, this kind of major transformation cannot be done without a high-end, effective faculty development office.

Should all surgeons be trainers?
I believe that all or virtually all surgeons have the capability of being excellent trainers. However, that does not imply that all surgeons should be trainers unless they possess the demonstrated skills and aptitude for being one, have accepted the obligation for being a trainer as part of their job description and are being adequately compensated.

How much training do you need to be a trainer?
I believe we have progressed a lot over the last decade or two in terms of an understanding that faculty development must be an essential element of being an excellent trainer. Some people have a natural predilection for teaching and training, but without specific education, complex new approaches to training will not be optimised – for example, training is needed in using modern assessment techniques. Second, much that can be learned about the specific aspects of teaching in various venues, for example, about the nuances of effective teaching in theatre. Third, like any other endeavour, a programme of continuous quality improvement will raise standards in training.

How can the Faculty of Surgical Trainers support trainers?
Organisations responsible for surgical training should develop programmes of support for their trainers. Currently, many of these take the form of faculty development sessions, which are appropriate. Increasingly, we will need to adapt to the way our new generation of teachers will be learning. One can predict that digital delivery of educational materials will become increasingly pronounced. Organisations need to be forward thinking in their pedagogical approaches to support what will be a new generation of trainers.

How do we inspire the next generation of trainers?
There must be a shared vision for what we are aspiring to in terms of teaching the next generation of our students. For me, the dream is simple. We have no interest in teaching the next generation of surgeons to be as good as us – our dream is to make them better. I believe if we can all buy into that vision, we can then set up a series of processes to bring that to reality.

How do we adapt surgical training on an international level, and what factors need to be considered?
This is a laudable but challenging goal. The global surgical community is shrinking and shared standards including reciprocal recognition by our surgical colleges around the world would be an excellent start. There are many opportunities for colleges, which are responsible for large elements of surgical training, to cooperate and share. There is no reason to have standards for surgical training in North America that are different from those in the UK. Taking the best from all systems will ultimately lead to a better outcome.

Read the full interview in the December 2018 edition of Surgeons' News, available to the membership of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.