Journal Logo

2016 ACAPS Winter Retreat

The Plastic Surgery Education Network: Appreciating Its Potential for Resident Training

Luce, Edward A. MD*; Wang, Howard T. MD

Author Information
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open: June 2016 - Volume 4 - Issue 6S-2 - p e776
doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000000774
  • Open

In 2009, Rod Rohrich in his exiting presidential meeting of American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons charged the organization with development of a curriculum. That curriculum was defined as a comprehensive, consensually derived, universally adopted resident education program with an accompanying and appropriate vehicle for implementation.1 Driven by the leadership of Jeff Janis, Joe Losee, and the addition of Keith Brandt as ASPS became an indispensable partner, the Plastic Surgery Education Network (PSEN) was born on the fruits of over 100 contributors. In the current iteration, the power of PSEN Resident Education Curriculum is substantial, an electronic platform with the potential for multimedia content, including slide tutorials, videos, cases, and suggested readings from Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in pdf. The curriculum is updated yearly with 8 sections and over 90 modules. User feedback and ratings of the modules have steadily improved each year with a majority of the modules scoring at least 4 of 5 on a 5-point scale. New content and modules are added based on evaluation of feedback and new innovations in our field. Yet, some programs have faltered in efforts to bridge from their current didactics to a web-based educational format. In addition, in the impetus for self-directed learning and learner autonomy, a concern exists for loss of structure and accountability.

A model will be suggested to implement PSEN into individual institutional didactics structured on adult learning principles of an andragogic or learner-centered approach with an appropriate balance of structure and accountability. The model enables the integration of PSEN into a cognitive conference by the use of tutorials and selected readings with adoption of the “flipped classroom” concept.2 For the other element of the suggested model, a case-based conference uses the “Oral Board Case” section of any given module in PSEN and can be linked to the milestones.3 Furthermore, each program can upload institutional-specific content into each module and can track resident completion of the module and test scores.

The principal and mandatory caveat is one of preparation: electronic distribution of material to residents with sufficient time, 10 to 14 days in advance, for review. Faculty preparation can be enhanced by the development of a faculty discussion and study guide or “lesson plan.” Similarly, the case-based conference functioned optimally with established expectations and preparation by both faculty and residents and a framework for dialog provided by previous distribution of cases and discussion questions.

In summary, integration of the PSEN into programmatic didactics can make us realize the potential of a web-based platform. The PSEN Resident Education Curriculum is a powerful tool that is a “living” document that is updated yearly, is responsive to user feedback, and enhanced based on the ever-changing nature of our field. An educational vehicle is described that honors a learner-centered approach yet incorporates structure and accountability. The success of integration hinges on thorough faculty preparation.


1. Luce EA. “A Curriculum”, Presented at American Association of Plastic Surgeons Meeting, 2009.Palm Desert, CA.
2. Luce EA. The future of plastic surgery resident education. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016;137:10631070.
3. Edward Luce MD, Robert Wallace MD, Sauve E. C-TAGME. “Use of a case-based conference to assess achievement of milestones in non-cognitive skills”, Presented at American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons Winter Retreat, 2016.Chicago, IL.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All rights reserved.