Attracting students to surgical careers: preclinical surgical experience.
OBJECTIVES: Along with a decline in interest in general surgery among United States medical school graduates, reports indicate a decrease in the amount of time students are spending on their surgical clerkship. In an effort to offer early exposure to general surgery as well as to equip students with the basic surgical skills that will enhance their third-year clerkship experience, we developed a preclinical surgical experience. Students were surveyed to determine whether the surgical selective changed student level of comfort with basic surgical skills. STUDY DESIGN: Surveys were administered, preexperience and postexperience to the medical students enrolled in the surgery selective. The students were asked to rate their comfort level with 12 unique surgical skills. Comfort with the task was evaluated using a 10-point Likert scale. Analyses were conducted to evaluate the impact of the surgical experience on student comfort levels with the surgical skills. RESULTS: The self-reported comfort levels of students increased significantly after the experience in all 12 areas. The greatest change in comfort level (greater than or equal to mean difference of 4) occurred in the surgical technique categories: knot tying (mean difference: 4.9, p < 0.0001), suturing (mean difference: 4.85, p < 0.0001), correctly making an incision (mean difference: 4.95, p < 0.0001), using a needle driver (mean difference: 5.35, p < 0.0001), holding pickups (mean difference: 4.6, p < 0.0001), use of laparoscopic instruments (mean difference: 4.8, p < 0.0001), and use of surgical simulators (mean difference: 6.0, p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Our preclinical surgical experience serves as a model of an effective modality providing early exposure to general surgery. The experience provides trainees with basic surgical skills well before they begin their third-year clerkships.
Antiel, RM; Thompson, SM; Camp, CL; Thompson, GB; Farley, DR
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)