‘It’s all about learning’

Release of Management of Facial Trauma 2.0 concept aims ‘to light the bonfire’ in participants’ minds

17 March 2019

MFT Ian McVicar


It’s no coincidence that great care has been taken with the new release of AOCMF’s Management of Facial Trauma (MFT) educational concept: Caretaking is a drive common to doctors in general, says AOCMF Global Education Task Force Chair Dr Iain McVicar.

Iain should know: Caretaking is a red thread running through both his professional and private lives, from his work as a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon in Nottingham’s Maxillofacial Unit and his service as AOCMF Global Education Task Force Chair to the flock of 130–140 rare-breed sheep he raises in England’s East Midlands.

The gold standard

Launched in early 2017, the MFT course has been a global success with more than 2,000 participants receiving training in 60 courses conducted in 32 countries. In line with the clinical division’s purpose statement of improving patient care through education research and development opportunities for surgeons, the AOCMF Global Education Task Force in 2018 undertook a comprehensive review of all the content of MFT 1.0. This was generated by the feedback received from the courses, taking into account faculty members’ desire for more computed tomography (CT) scans, clinical pictures and cases, as well as more detailed observations on diagrams, texts and in-depth commentary on content. 

“The AO is still the gold standard for trauma patient treatment and the MFT course mirrors that standard of education,” says Iain. “It aims to give participants a very good, two-day summary of the state of facial trauma care today, with lots of opportunities for participants to interact with faculty, from the practical exercises to small group discussions.”

The result of that sweeping review—conducted by Iain and task force members Marcelo Figari (Argentina); TC Lim (Singapore); Irfan Shah (Pakistan); Gorman Louie (Canada), the AOCMF Education's Diana Greiner and AO Education Institute's Mike Cunningham; outgoing AOCMF International Board Chair Warren Schubert and current AOCMF International Board Chair Gregorio Sánchez Aniceto—is an enriched MFT 2.0.

“The lectures are clearer because we have refined the lecture content based on feedback. We have changed a lot of the images used with support from the AO Surgery Reference artists, and cases used in small group discussions have either been significantly altered or changed to make the content more useful,” he explains. “We also looked at the content of the practical exercises.”

What hasn’t changed is the highly engaging nature of the MFT: It remains 30 percent short lectures and 70 percent hands-on practical exercises and small group discussions. Next on the task force’s agenda is a review of all of MFT-related videos and production of new video content, tentatively scheduled to be available for the 2020 courses. Digitalization of the course feedback process is ongoing, Iain says.

‘It’s all about learning’

“Education requires continued analysis of what we are doing. It’s all about learning, whether it’s a chat over a cup of coffee with a peer or a ‘senior friend’ within AOCMF. That interactivity is essential,” says Iain, “and it’s one of the factors that differentiates the MFT course from other available educational opportunities. We do not aim to tell participants everything they need to know about management of facial trauma. We want to provide information in easily chewable pieces in order to ‘light the bonfire’ in participants minds, whatever their level of seniority, wherever they are in the world, and whatever technology is available to them.”

Those are big aspirations, but Iain and his peers on the task force are passionate about continuously moving the MFT content—and participants—forward in order to improve patient care. And he knows personally how a bonfire of interest, once ignited, can burn bright and be passed on to other standard bearers. That’s how his own involvement with AOCMF was triggered, and it’s how his avocation—caring for a flock of Boreray and Soay sheep—began and continues to grow.

Taking care

“Inspired by my paternal grandfather, who was a shepherd on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, I started off with four pet sheep in 2000 and persuaded my wife to let me keep them on the grass in our garden. Then I got a ram, and now we have more than 130 sheep!” he says.

What began as a small-scale hobby became a valuable way for Iain to relax but, at the same time, sheep farming resonates with him because of the care required.

“There’s something good about actually looking after something,” he says. “My patients certainly aren’t sheep, but I think this interest in taking care is one of the reasons all of us doctors do what we do: We get a kick out of looking after people. Medicine is not only a science but also an art, in terms of how we look after people.”

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