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Climbing the Ladder from Novice to Expert Plastic Surgeon

Weber, Robert A. M.D.; Aretz, H. Thomas M.D.

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery:
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318254b374
Special Topics: Educator's Series

Summary: This article reviews the nature of novice and expert thinking and shows how pattern recognition is a key distinction between the two. The article also discusses the ladder that learners climb as they move from medical student to senior staff surgeon and suggests ways of viewing surgical trainees as they progress through the process so that learning activities can be adopted that best fit them.

Author Information

Temple, Texas; and Boston, Mass.

From the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, Scott & White Healthcare/Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School and Harvard Macy Institute.

Received for publication October 4, 2011; accepted January 3, 2012.

Disclosure: The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Robert A. Weber, M.D.; Scott & White Healthcare, 2401 South 31st Street, Temple, Texas 76508,

©2012American Society of Plastic Surgeons