You can think of a lot such as technical procedures or washing your hands. For residents it’s obvious. Mostly learning the technical procedure of an operation. During long operations I used to count the number of stitches. Once during a vascular operation the chief surgeon out of the blue asked what vessel it was they’re watching, didn’t have a clue. So what do medical students during their clerkship learn from attending an operation in the OR (operating room)? This hasn’t been studied until recently.
During their core surgical clerkship 11 medical students were observed by 2 surgical residents and 1 doctoral student in education during 10 operations in the OR. Postoperatively, 1 of the 3 observers interviewed the medical student and the attending surgeon separately about the perceived educational value of the experience.
Teaching events regarding the technical aspects of the operation consumed a mean of 55% of time/case. An average of 9.8% of the total time for each case (range 1.6%–20.2%) was spent teaching towards the goals of the clerkship
Moreover, the faculty thought higher of the educational content (4 on a scale of 5) than the students (3.4 on a scale of 5). Most of the time during OR was used for teaching technical aspects to the resident and less than 10 toward the core surgery clerkship goals.
What are these goals for surgical clerkship?
developing the fund of knowledge and clinical ability to care for patients with surgically treated diseases. Students begin to acquire rudimentary clinical skills related to symptoms, conditions, and diseases that surgeons often treat, such as trauma, hernia, solid malignancies, gastrointestinal disorders, and vascular diseases. Students develop communication skills and continue the development of professionalism. Further goals of the clerkship include obtaining basic technical skills and gaining an understanding of the career of a surgeon.
Participating during an operation can be an educational task, nevertheless other teaching methods and surroundings are needed to fulfill the clerkships’ teaching goals.
Irani, J., Greenberg, J., Blanco, M., Greenberg, C., Ashley, S., Lipsitz, S., Hafler, J., & Breen, E. (2010). Educational value of the operating room experience during a core surgical clerkship The American Journal of Surgery, 200 (1), 167-172 DOI: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.06.023