A Practical Minded Obsession: With the Possibility and Consequence of Failure


  • Curt Tribble Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia




The ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) in its description of its ‘Outcome Project’ notes that all training programs “must require its resident to obtain competencies in six areas to the level expected of a new practitioner” and these six competencies include: patient care and medical knowledge, interpersonal skills and professionalism, and systems based practice and practice based learning.

Furthermore, most hospital credentialing systems require evidence of successful adoption and practice of these same six competencies.

In his article entitled ‘Creating the Educated Surgeon of the 21st Century’ Atul Gawande concludes “We are doctors, not technicians. We must educate ourselves accordingly.” 

[Gawande, A. The American Journal of Surgery 181: 551–556, 2001] 


Gawande A. 1999. When doctors make mistakes. The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1999/02/01/when-doctors-make-mistakes. Accessed 1-15-16.

Gawande A. 2001. Creating the educated surgeon in the 21st century. Am J Surg 181:551-6.

Gladwell M. 1999. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1999/08/02/the-physical-genius. Accessed 1-15-16.

Kubler-Ross E. 1969. On death and dying. New York, NY: Scribner. ISBN 978-1-4767-7554-8.

Leriche R. http://www.azquotes.com/author/43529-Rene_Leriche. Accessed 12-15.

Spencer FC. 1979. The Gibbon Lecture: competency and compassion. Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. November 15-22.

Tribble C, Merrill W. 2016. In your own words: towards a more perfect union of patient care and education. Ann Thorac Surg [in press].



How to Cite

Tribble, C. (2016). A Practical Minded Obsession: With the Possibility and Consequence of Failure. The Heart Surgery Forum, 19(1), E001-E004. https://doi.org/10.1532/hsf.1536




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