Simulation Experience Enhances Medical Students' Interest in Cardiothoracic Surgery
ABSTRACT Applications to cardiothoracic training programs have declined dramatically. Increased effort in recruiting trainees is paramount. In this study, we test our hypothesis that mentored instruction on cardiothoracic simulators will enhance the interest of junior medical students in cardiothoracic surgery.
First- and second-year medical students were recruited from a "surgery interest group" to receive mentored instruction on high-fidelity cardiothoracic simulators. Before and after simulation assessment tools were used to assess attitudes toward simulation, general surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery.
Forty-four medical students participated in the study. Although 80% of the students were interested in pursuing a career in surgery before the course, the majority (64%) indicated they were "neutral" about pursuing a career in cardiothoracic surgery. After participating in the course, 61% of the students agreed or strongly agreed that they were interested in pursuing a career in cardiothoracic surgery (p = 0.001). When asked to select a surgical subspecialty for their third-year clerkship rotation, 18% of the students selected thoracic surgery before participating in the simulator course versus 39% after completing the course. This increase was most evident among the female participants, of whom only 3 (12%) selected a thoracic rotation before the simulator course versus 9 (35%) after completion of the course (p < 0.05).
High-fidelity surgical simulators are an effective way to introduce medical students to cardiothoracic surgery. Participation in moderated simulator sessions improves attitudes toward cardiothoracic surgery as a career choice and correlates with a greater interest in selecting thoracic surgery as a third-year clerkship rotation. The role of surgical simulation as a recruitment tool should be further delineated.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Given declining interest in cardiothoracic (CT) training programs during the last decade, increasing emphasis has been placed on engaging candidates early in their training. We examined the effect of supervised and unsupervised practice on medical students' interest in CT surgery. METHODS: Forty-five medical students participated in this study. Participants' interest level in surgery, CT surgery, and simulation were collected before and after a pretest session. Subsequently, participants were randomized to one of three groups: control (n = 15), unsupervised training on a low-fidelity task simulator (n = 15), or supervised training with a CT surgeon or fellow on the same simulator (n = 15). After 3 weeks, attitudes were reassessed at a posttest session. Interest levels were compared before and after the pretest using paired t tests, and the effects of training on interests were assessed with multiple linear regression analyses. RESULTS: After the pretest session, participants were significantly more interested in simulation (p = 0.001) but not in surgery or CT surgery. After training, compared with control group participants, supervised trainees demonstrated a significant increase in their interest level in pursuing a career in surgery (p = 0.028) and an increasing trend towards a career in CT surgery (p = 0.060), whereas unsupervised trainees did not. CONCLUSIONS: Supervised training on low-fidelity simulators enhances interest in a career in surgery. Practice that lacks supervision does not, possibly related to the complexity of the simulated task. Mentorship efforts may need to involve sustained interaction to provide medical students with enough exposure to appreciate a surgical career.The Annals of thoracic surgery 06/2013; 95(6):2057-2063. DOI:10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.02.045 · 3.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Enthusiasm for simulation early in cardiothoracic surgery training is growing, yet evidence demonstrating its utility is limited. We examined the effect of supervised and unsupervised training on coronary anastomosis performance in a randomized trial among medical students. Forty-five medical students were recruited for this single-blinded, randomized controlled trial using a low-fidelity simulator. After viewing an instructional video, all participants attempted an anastomosis. Subsequently, the participants were randomized to 1 of 3 groups: control (n = 15), unsupervised training (n = 15), or supervised training with a cardiothoracic surgeon or fellow (n = 15). Both the supervised and unsupervised groups practiced for 1 hour per week. After 4 weeks, the participants repeated the anastomosis. All pre- and posttraining performances were videotaped and rated independently by 3 cardiothoracic surgeons blinded to the randomization. All raters scored 13 assessment items on a 1 to 5 (low-high) scale along with an overall pass/fail rating. After the training period, all 3 groups showed significant improvements in composite scores (control: +0.52 ± 0.69 [P = .014], unsupervised: +1.05 ± 0.48 [P < .001], and supervised: +1.10 ± 0.84 [P < .001]). Compared with control group, both supervised (P = .005) and unsupervised trainees (P = .005) demonstrated a significant improvement. Between the supervised and unsupervised groups there were no statistically significant differences in composite scores. Practice on low-fidelity simulators enabled trainees to improve on a broad range of skills; however, the additional effect of attending-level supervision is limited. In an era of increasing staff surgeon responsibilities, unsupervised practice may be sufficient for inexperienced trainees. Copyright © 2014 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 09/2014; 149(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jtcvs.2014.09.029 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Simulation may reduce the risks associated with the complex operations of cardiothoracic surgery and help create a more efficient, thorough, and uniform curriculum for cardiothoracic surgery fellowship. Here, we review the current status of simulation in cardiothoracic surgical training and provide an overview of all simulation models applicable to cardiothoracic surgery that have been published to date. We completed a comprehensive search of all publications pertaining to simulation of cardiothoracic surgical procedures by using PubMed. Numerous cardiothoracic surgical simulators at various stages of development, assessment, and commercial manufacturing have been published to date. There is currently a predominance of models simulating coronary artery bypass grafting and bronchoscopy and a relative paucity of simulators of open pulmonary and esophageal procedures. Despite the wide range of simulators available, few models have been formally assessed for validity and educational value. Surgical simulation is becoming an increasingly important educational tool in training cardiothoracic surgeons. Our next steps forward will be to develop an objective, standardized way to assess surgical simulation training compared with the current apprenticeship model.The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery 01/2014; 147(1):18-24.e2. DOI:10.1016/j.jtcvs.2013.09.007 · 3.99 Impact Factor