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Med Teach. 2010;32(3):256-8. doi: 10.3109/01421590903514648.

Actor training for surgical team simulations.

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Department of Biosurgery & Surgical Technology, Imperial College, QEQM, St Mary's Hospital,, London W2 1NY, UK.



Immersive simulations can enable surgeons to learn complex sets of skills required for safe surgical practice without risk to patients. However, recruiting healthcare professionals to support surgeons training as members of an operating theatre (OT) team is challenging and resource intensive.


We developed a training programme for actors to take on the role of an OT team to support validation studies in a simulated environment. This article describes the evaluation of the programme.


The programme comprised of written materials, video discussion and experiential activities. Evaluation methods consisted of post-simulation interviews and questionnaires with actors and surgeons. Participants were recruited by convenience sampling. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and interviews were analysed using thematic extraction.


Three actors participated in the programme. Twelve surgeons completed simulations. All data suggest that the training was successful. Actors were perceived as realistic. Suggestions were made to improve training.


After a brief training, actors can realistically portray members of an OT team in simulations designed to support surgeon training. This article highlights factors that contributed to success and suggests improvements. Although there are limitations with the study, its findings have relevance to training and assessment that focuses on individual clinician's functioning as a member of an OT team.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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