Residency

Use positive reinforcement to train residents

Residency Program Insider, March 11, 2016

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The orthopedic surgery program at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx is employing a technique often associated with training dogs to teach its residents basic surgical techniques.
 
Based on reward-based operant conditioning, clicker training for dogs uses a click from a mechanical device to mark when a dog performs a desired behavior. The dog is also rewarded with a treat and over time will associate the clicks with pleasure without the need for treats. Eventually performing the desired behavior becomes the reward.

Adapting this technique to surgical training at Montefiore, instructors noted when a resident performed a step of a procedure correctly with a click, flick of a flashlight or a verbal cue. One group of residents was taught using this technique and another group was taught using traditional teaching methods. Although both groups performed the procedures at the same speed, the residents taught using operant conditioning had more precise movements.

Source: Scientific American



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