Surgical Education: A Historical Perspective

  • Roger KneeboneEmail author
Part of the Innovation and Change in Professional Education book series (ICPE, volume 17)


This chapter considers how the landscape of surgical education has changed over the past century and how the educational certainties of an earlier generation have been supplanted by fluidity and instability. After outlining the establishment of open surgery in the first half of the twentieth century, the chapter uses the introduction of minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery in the 1980s as a lens for examining the educational implications of surgical innovation and the processes by which such innovation can trigger educational change. At the same time, the discussion charts the emergence of professionalism of surgical education, shaped by expert perspectives from outside medicine. This has led to a broadening of methodological approaches to the investigation of educational questions and the establishment of surgical education as a scholarly field with its own identity. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the continual process by which innovation becomes established as a ‘new normal’, only to be overtaken in its turn by continuing change.


Minimally invasive surgery Innovation Educational change Professionalism Methodology Scholarship Alder Hey Children’s Hospital John Wickham Contemporary challenges Keyhole surgery Simulation-based training Harold Shipman Expertise Complexity Scientific surgery Flexner Motor skills Surgical firms Assessment Educationalist National Health Service Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Project World War II Apprenticeship 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery and CancerImperial College LondonLondonUK

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