UCL Medical School


“It’s not just getting a biopsy”: ‘take-home’ messages in surgical training

25 April 2023, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm

UCL Main Quad

“It’s not just getting a biopsy”: Transposing ‘take-home’ messages from the operating theatre to a proforma

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Asta Medisauskaite

In this talk we explore how surgical trainees and their supervisors construct ‘take-home’ messages - generic principles for future action- as the former operates under the guidance of the latter in the operating theatre and subsequently transposes these messages on a so-called workplace-based assessment (WBA) form. These forms are uploaded onto an online platform and count as evidence of learning for the trainee's annual review, which determines whether the trainee can continue their training or not. Adopting a social semiotic perspective, and drawing on video recordings, observations, interviews, and WBA forms, we explore how a trainee and supervisor constructed take-home messages as they rendered, read and recorded digital images during a surgical procedure, and how these messages were taken forward by the trainee in the form. We show, first, how trainee and supervisor jointly created a picture of an area of interest inside the patient’s body, interpreted the picture in terms of opportunities for future surgical intervention, and recorded it to facilitate preparations for a possible future intervention; and second, what take home messages were designed from this operative activity. We conclude with reflections on the value of turning a social semiotic eye onto medical education.

About the Speakers

Prof Jeff Bezemer

Professor of Communication at UCL Institute of Education

Picture of Prof Jeff Bezemer

Dr Arpan Tahim

Honorary postdoctoral fellow at UCL Institute of Education