Words Matter: towards a new lexicon for 'nontechnical skills' training

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In this editorial, we contend that terms such as ‘nontechnical’ and ‘nonverbal’ are inaccurate and that they must be changed as part of the move towards a new lexicon for health professions education (HPE). Firstly, we examine how the use of the word ‘technical’ has evolved and how the technologization of HPE has resulted in problematic terminology that should be modified. Secondly, we look at the similarities between simulation-based education (SBE) and actor training and suggest that ‘behavioural’ is a more accurate term than ‘nontechnical’ when describing the range and complexity of interpersonal skills. Thirdly, we make the case for a revised HPE curriculum where ‘behavioural’ skills can gradually be brought up to par with clinical skills. We conclude by suggesting that a change in language will lead to a shift in attitudes and ultimately a change in educational focus regarding key skills that are often undervalued in HPE.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalAdvances in Simulation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2019


  • Nontechnical skills
  • Behavioural skills
  • Simulation-based education
  • Health professions education
  • Actor Training
  • Stanislavski system


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