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J Gastrointest Surg. 2007 Nov;11(11):1379-83. Epub 2007 Aug 15.

Surgical education to improve the quality of patient care: the role of practice-based learning and improvement.

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Division of Education, American College of Surgeons, 633 N. Saint Clair Street, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Health care is going through immense change, and concerns regarding the quality of patient care and patient safety continue to be expressed in many national forums. A variety of stakeholders are demanding greater accountability from the health care profession. Education is key to supporting surgeons' efforts to provide high-quality patient care during these challenging times. Educational programs for surgeons should be founded on principles of continuous professional development (CPD) and practice-based learning and improvement (PBLI). CPD focuses on the specific needs of individual surgeons and involves lifelong learning throughout a surgeon's career. It needs to form the basis of PBLI efforts. PBLI involves a cycle of four steps--identifying areas for improvement, engaging in learning, applying new knowledge and skills to practice, and checking for improvement. Ongoing involvement in PBLI activities to address specific learning needs should positively impact a surgeon's practice and improve outcomes of surgical care.

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