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Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS)

This page provides information about Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS), a tool allowing trainers to give feedback to colleagues and trainees based on structured observations of non-technical aspects of performance.

What are non-technical skills?

Non-technical skills are the cognitive and interpersonal skills that complement practical and technical competences, such as decision making, leadership and team working. In surgical specialties, these behavioural or non-technical aspects of performance (e.g. communication failures) are often the underlying causes of adverse events, rather than a lack of technical expertise. Traditionally, these aspects of performances have been largely developed informally rather than explicitly addressed in training. 

What is NOTSS?

The NOTSS system provides a framework and common terminology for rating and giving feedback ton non-technical skills. Used in conjunction with medical knowledge and clinical skills, NOTSS is a tool to observe and rate behaviour in theatre in a structured manner. This enables clear and transparent assessment of training needs.

NOTSS describes the main observable non-technical skills associated with good surgical practice, under the following headings:

  • Situation awareness
  • Decision making
  • Communication and teamwork
  • Leadership

The RCOG has adapted the NOTSS system for use on the labour ward and in the gynaecological operating room. We have removed the rating system to focus on providing constructive and timely feedback. The system includes only those behaviours that are directly observable or that can be inferred through communication. NOTSS covers a wide range of non-technical skills in as few categories as possible.

How many NOTSS do I need to perform?

NOTSS is not on the matrix of educational progression and there is no minimum number trainees are required to complete.

How do I use NOTSS?

For guidance on using the NOTSS tool, please download the PDFs below:

NOTSS forms

The NOTSS forms are available in the Forms menu in your ePortfolio, or download the forms below:

Contact us

For any general queries about your training and assessment, please email the Trainees’ Coordinator or call +44 20 7772 6348.

If you have any queries about the content of the WPBAs, please email the Assessment Lead or call +44 20 7772 6308.

Elsewhere on the site

The complete specialty training programme in O&G – core curriculum, ultrasound, ATSMs, subspecialty and academic
MRCOG exams
How to prepare for the Part 1 and Part 2 MRCOG exams (the RCOG’s membership exams)