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The field of surgery continues to evolve at an astonishing pace. Briefly visiting the history of surgery, we can marvel at the leaps and bounds this field has made in a relatively short period of time. Joseph Lister’s theory of antisepsis did not take prominence in practice until the early twentieth century, yet at the end of the century, we witnessed the revolution of minimally invasive surgery championed by the laparoscopic approach. Only time will tell the next momentous innovation within the field of surgery. The evolution of surgery expands beyond technological advancement and the ability to successfully complete surgical procedures once thought to be impossible. Surgical culture has also undergone immense change. Historically, surgery was a field dominated by surgeons who led with a command-and-control style of practice.1 This was, in part, secondary to the nature of the specialty at that time. Surgeons were once tasked with being the sole caretaker of their patients, being highly specialized in the ability to treat pathology with surgical technique. In the operating room, surgeons acted as sole decision-makers in the oversight of patient care. Recent decades have brought forth a transformation toward a more dynamic and interdisciplinary health care system that places increasing focus on the patient experience.2 In recent years, policymakers and scholars have taken interest in better understanding how the role of leadership has changed in today’s health care system, and what qualities will make an effective leader in today’s health care landscape.3 This new dynamic approach to medicine has disrupted the old norms of many health care specialties, particularly the field of surgery. The old norms of the commanding surgeon have been disrupted as the evolution of our health care system brings forth new standards of multidisciplinary care. As the single-provider style of care phases out, a new era of surgical culture is ushered in placing greater emphasis on team dynamics and leadership abilities.

What can be done to ensure future generations of surgeons are capable of filling new demands for strong surgeon leaders? Medicine is a perpetually evolving field, constantly being disrupted by technological advancement. To stay up to date with emerging evidence, medical professionals commit to being lifelong learners within their field. This same precedent should be applied equally to all areas of medical training, including leadership development for medical trainees. Leadership is fluid, and our understanding of its principles changes over time. It is imperative for surgical training programs to acknowledge the value of quality leadership development for their trainees. How important is the interplay of leadership and surgery? The National Residency Match Program’s (NRMP) data for the 2018 match cycle showed leadership qualities were a citing factor 61% of the time when considering surgery applicants.4 In their program requirements for graduate medical education in general surgery, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) stated “the surgeon must effectively function in interprofessional and, often, multidisciplinary teams, frequently in a ...

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