The recent ASPiH conference in Oxford (6th-8th November) was my third. It has improved year on year. The keynote speeches were a highlight.
The two excellent keynote speeches by K. Anders Ericsson and Donald Clark were bracketed by less impressive, but still thought-provoking, presentations by Jonathan Wyatt and Tom Reader.
Jonathan Wyatt's presentation style was original; mixing vignettes about his travels and encounters, with a more traditional presentation. Jonathan had obviously put a lot of work and thought into this keynote so there was certainly not a lack of preparation. Where it fell short, however, was in its applicability and relevance to the audience of the entire conference. An excellent speech for an interested minority became an unsuitable performance (with its incorporation of Gilles Deleuze and post-structural theory) to the plenary.
I did like his comment on how, at times, we go to a lecture or presentation in order to switch off. We disparage the orator for his use of powerpoint slides while at the same time praying that he/she does not make the session interactive.
Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours to become an expert was referred to and supported. However Anders reinforced the idea of deliberate practice. As a guitar student I know exactly where he's coming from: repeatedly putting your fingers in the wrong position for a given chord means you become very good at playing the chord badly.
Anders also showed that "older/more experienced" is not necessarily "better". If we fail to continue to carry out deliberate practice then our skills deteriorate. This may be one reason for the fear of senior doctors to come to the simulation centre: those whom we would expect to be most experienced (and best) in a scenario may disappoint us and, much more importantly, themselves. This makes the creation of a safe learning environment with an understanding faculty an essential foundation of good simulation-based medical education.