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.


    • Words matter: towards a new lexicon for ‘nontechnical skills’ training

      Rights statement: © 2019 The Authors. This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the author and source are cited.

      Final published version, 521 KB, PDF-document


    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages4
    JournalAdvances in Simulation
    Journal publication date27 Apr 2019
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2019

      Research areas

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

    ID: 164178064