Louisville Medicine Volume 69, Issue 5 - Page 11

AUTHOR Akhila Ankem , MS & Brooke Barrow , MEng
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR LEADERSHIP

A STUDENT-LED SURGICAL SKILLS CLASS FOR MEDICAL STUDENTS

AUTHOR Akhila Ankem , MS & Brooke Barrow , MEng

An interest in surgery may be sparked in several ways . Many students consider a surgical specialty after developing a strong professional relationship with a surgeon . 1 Early exposure to surgical knowledge and techniques during the preclinical years positively correlates with an interest in the specialty . 1-3 This includes becoming familiar with the operating room and developing proficiency with fundamental surgical skills . Students who are confident with basic techniques are more likely to succeed in their clerkships and , therefore , are more likely to pursue a surgical career . 3 , 4

The literature reports that many medical students feel underprepared for their surgery clerkships , 4 likely due to limited opportunities in the preclinical curriculum . One study found that incoming surgical interns often express a similar sentiment and report feeling less confident in the operating room . 5 Students seeking preparation for their surgical rotations will benefit from hands-on instruction covering basic surgical skills and operative room etiquette . 6 No matter a student ’ s future specialty , having a working knowledge of basic techniques and wound healing is beneficial .
Medical students need opportunities for interactive instruction and self-guided practice to develop their technical skills . Several medical schools provide instruction on fundamental surgical skills , some led by faculty and others by students . 1 , 3 , 4 While board certified surgeons have limited time to spare , student leaders are more available to facilitate these workshops . Peer-led instruction provides the additional benefit of a collaborative and low-stress learning environment ( i . e ., not in the operating room ). 1
For the past 22 years , over 1,000 medical students at the University of Louisville have learned these fundamental skills in surgical skills class . 7 This four-week program is student-led and faculty-supervised . Each year , second-year medical students apply to teach the surgical skills class . These instructors commit to intensive training and preparation over the summer prior to teaching their fellow classmates throughout the school year . Because of overwhelming student interest , a lottery system is used to select eight student participants each month . While second-year students are formally invited to participate , third- and fourth-year students are welcome to take part in the surgical skills class .
The program consists of four two-hour sessions that promote experience and preparedness for the surgical clerkship . Each session begins with coffee , pastries and a brief presentation of a medical
Students practicing suturing
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