Viv Blackhall: PhD student

Viv Blackhall: PhD student

image showing Viv Blackhall

Name:  Miss Vivienne Blackhall BScMedSci, MBChB, MRCS.  Registrar in General Surgery and Clinical Research Fellow

Viv successfully defended her PhD Thesis 2020. Pictured here with her assessors after her viva and celebratory lunch.

Title of MD Projects:

  1. iView expert. Adapting a method from human space flight, civil and military aviation, to explicate medical expertise in complex tasks, for transfer to trainees.
  2. Evaluating a take home laparoscopic deliberate practice programme for core surgical trainees.

Dates: Feb 2017-Feb 2020

Brief descriptions:

  1. Experts become so automatic at undertaking complex tasks that they have difficulty in explaining their cognitive processes to learners.  A method called ‘cued recall debrief’ has been developed in the space and aviation industry in an attempt to draw out this unspoken expertise. We wish to apply this technique to the medical field in order to verbalise the thought processes of expert doctors undertaking key medical procedures such as colonoscopy and epidural insertion.  The method involves the expert wearing a head-mounted camera during the procedure of interest and subsequently undergoing a ‘debrief’ or feedback process with a trained debriefer.  The debrief is recorded and form a commentary alongside the video footage.  The project will examine whether the learning package does indeed provide insights that have not previously been demonstrable through existing teaching methods.
  2. Laparoscopic skills can be learnt using portable simulators but trainees rarely take opportunities to practice, even if given access to a suitable simulator.  This was our experience in our attempt to incentivise frequent practice on take-home simulators by trainees in two Scottish core surgical training programmes.  The focus of our enquiry is a laparoscopic simulation training programme (Incentivised Laparoscopy Practice Study (ILPS)).  The aim of ILPS was to quantify gains in laparoscopic motor skills of core surgical trainees (CSTs) using take-home simulators. Although performances improved in some, there was poor engagement overall. We want to know what the potential barriers and facilitators are to engagement with home-based laparoscopic simulators in core surgical trainees.  We plan to conduct focus groups with the various stakeholders involved in surgical training (trainees and consultant trainers) in order to answer this question. For further reading click here

Viv’s papers:

Blackhall, V.I., Walker, K.G., Whiteley, I., Wilson, P. and Cleland, J. (2021), iViewExpert: A tool to uncover expertise and support surgical skills training. Med Educ, 55: 658-658.

Blackhall VI, Cleland J, Wilson P, Moug SJ, Walker KG. Barriers and facilitators to deliberate practice using take-home laparoscopic simulators. Surgical Endoscopy 2019, 3(9):2951-2959. doi: 10.1007/s00464-018-6599-9

Blackhall VI, Walker KG, Whiteley I, et al. Use of head camera-cued recall and debrief to externalise expertise: a systematic review of literature from multiple fields of practice. BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning 2019;5:121-129 doi: 10.1136/bmjstel-2018-000341

Supervisory team:

  • Professor Philip Wilson
  • Professor Ken Walker
  • Professor Jennifer Cleland
  • Miss. Susan Moug