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Identification and development of talent in surgery: A scoping study across the performance domains of surgery, sport, and music

Rune Dall Jensen (Department of HR, MidtSim, Region Midtjylland, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Sissel Ravn (Department of Surgery, Colorectal Surgical Unit, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark)
Mette Krogh Christensen (Centre for Health Sciences Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Article publication date: 7 May 2019

Issue publication date: 7 May 2019




Education of the surgeon and development of surgical expertise have been debated for centuries. Today, research in surgical education applies terms and methods from other performance domains such as sport and music. However, there still seems to be a lack of consensus as to how talent may be brought into the discourse about surgical education. Especially, when it comes to identifying and developing trainees who in the future will perform better than the average surgeon.


This five-step scoping study aims to map existing literature about talent identification, talent development and development of expertise in the domains of surgery, sport and music in the period of 1985-2014.


A total of 242 studies, divided in the four domains of surgery (69 studies), sport (115 studies), music (34 studies) and cross-disciplinary studies (24 studies) published in the period 1985-2014 were included.


Informed by the performance domains of sports and music and their inclusion of a holistic, ecological approach to research, this study suggests that research in surgical education may benefit from broadening its view on talent by including psychosocial variables and environmental, demographic and structural influencers when considering how surgical talent may be identified and developed.



Dall Jensen, R., Ravn, S. and Krogh Christensen, M. (2019), "Identification and development of talent in surgery: A scoping study across the performance domains of surgery, sport, and music", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 43 No. 3/4, pp. 272-305.



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