Trained to cut? A literature review of veterinary surgical resident training

Micha C Simons, Julie A Hunt, Stacy L Anderson
Vet Surg. 2024 May 30. doi: 10.1111/vsu.14110.

A surgical residency trains veterinary graduates to a higher level of expertise in surgical procedures than is possible during veterinary school and prepares a resident to pursue board certification in surgery. 

The education of veterinary surgical residents has changed minimally since its inception in the twentieth century, and there are insufficient studies to determine if residency programs are producing surgeons with competence in each of the necessary procedural categories. The aims of this review were to report the current theory and methods used to provide surgical education to residents, to discuss the training most likely to create a competent, board-certified surgeon and to review assessment methods used during training. Several literature searches using broad terms such as "veterinary surgery residency," "veterinary surgery resident," and "veterinary surgical training" were performed using PubMed, CAB abstracts, and Google Scholar. Literature pertinent to theory, methods, training, and assessment of veterinary surgical residents was included. The reviewed literature demonstrated the need for research-based learning curves for specific procedures. Simulation training is known to facilitate deliberate practice and should be leveraged where possible to reach competency. The creation of validated assessment methods should be pursued as it enables assessment of competency instead of inferring its development from case logs. 

Understanding and supporting learner cognition and providing sufficient feedback remain important issues in the field. Surgical educators are urged to continue to search for innovative and evidence-based ways to train competent surgical residents.