Journal of Surgical Simulation 2021; 8: 61 - 71

Published: 10 February 2022


Review article

A narrative review of non-technical skills simulations for junior surgical trainees in managing surgical on-call

Rebecca Smith
Corresponding author: Rebecca Smith, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King's College London, UK. Email:


Mastery of non-technical skills (NTS) training is an essential part of surgical training but is often overlooked in favour of technical skills training. Although NTS simulations exist for several clinical activities for surgeons at all levels of training, this article identifies that there are currently no NTS simulations for junior surgical trainees in managing the surgical on-call, which is a key role assumed by senior surgeons but neglected by formal training. Development of an NTS simulation in managing the on-call would teach trainees the social, cognitive and personal resource skills that are invaluable in everyday clinical practice, improving interprofessional working relationships and overall patient care. Important NTS simulation design aspects, including the establishment of psychological safety, the impact of high sociological and psychological fidelity, and appropriate simulation evaluation methods are discussed in depth. A ready-to-use template for a potential pilot study is included for further research into developing a low-cost, highimpact NTS simulation concept into future surgical training.


non-technical skills; simulation; surgical training; surgical trainees; junior surgical trainees; managing on-call