Mental readiness: focusing on the cutting edge


  • Judy M McDonald McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Faculté de médecine/Faculty of Medicine, Universite d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa



mental readiness, pediatric neurosurgery, full focus


Several intriguing questions were raised during my presentation on Mental readiness and pediatric neurosurgery at the Brazil Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (BSPN) Scientific Meeting–Webinar on April 15, 2020. Does arrogance disturb mental readiness techniques? Can mindfulness techniques improve surgical readiness? Can simulation models improve mindfulness? How do you stay focused on routine procedures you’ve done 800 times? The University of Ottawa (Canada)—where I am a research scientist in at the McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment in the Faculty of Medicine—has conducted extensive studies on a new discipline called operational readiness. It correlates research with the performances of Olympic athletes and people in high-risk occupations, like surgeons, air traffic controllers and police, whose standards of excellence have life-and-death consequences. So, what can we learn from the best in these fields? Plenty. Our ongoing work makes it clear that effective focusing practices impact one’s performance. But, it is not always easy to “be there for the task-at-hand with all your attention on the right things for the duration of the event without distracting thoughts.” Here are five focusing techniques used by elite surgeons and other peak performers compiled by researchers at the University of Ottawa.


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How to Cite

McDonald JM. Mental readiness: focusing on the cutting edge. Arch Pediatr Neurosurg [Internet]. 2021 May 6 [cited 2024 May 24];3(2(May-August):e952021. Available from: