Like any other field of medicine, the specialty of dermatology is defined by certain hard and soft skills which a dermatologist needs to acquire during his training. These include clinical skills, procedural skills, teaching skills, communication and writing skills and interpersonal skills to name a few. Learning any new skill is a staged process and needs guidance, time and practice. According to the Dreyfus model there are five stages of skill acquisition, namely Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent, Proficient and Expert. Each of these five stages in the process of skill acquisition, has its own traits and capabilities. The journey from a novice to an expert begins with inexperience and a desire to learn and ends with capability and self-confidence. It is characterized by self-doubt, unexpectedness and fear of the unknown in the beginning. As the journey continues this gives way to growing precision, capability, and accomplishment. As with all other journeys, there are companions i.e., fellow learners and guides or educators, who form an important part of this journey. This transition from one stage to another is a lengthy process. A novice cannot become an expert overnight. Declarative and procedural knowledge needed to master a domain is acquired tacitly over an extended period of time. It is stated that 10 years or 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are required to become an expert of a field. The word expert is related to ‘experience’, which you have gained through your life. It is a long process to get to the stage of expert. There is another term ‘Master’ which is considered to be the highest level of skill acquisition A master, in fact, is a step above an expert. When you are a master of something, you hold expertise, knowledge and skill of a very high level. The word ‘Master’ refers to a person who commands or controls. It is usually a title conferred to someone who is eminently skilled in something, with great ability to teach and mentor others. It is said that when your students become experts in their fields you become a master!
Audience Take Away Notes:
- Enumerate the different stages of skill acquisition as described by the Dreyfus Model.
- Identify the traits and capabilities of each stage.
- Identify the level or stage of their own skill while performing which will help in self -improvement and prevention of errors.
- Emphasize the importance of giving time and deliberate practice in reaching expertise in any skill.