Level of Interest in Surgery and Perception of Surgical Education among the 2009-2010 Pre-clerkship Medical Students at the University of Toronto.

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James Jung
Michael Bond
Michael Olsen
Darlene Fenech
Andrew Smith

Keywords

Medical Education, Curriculum, Surgery

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the level of interest in surgery as a career choice and perception of surgery curricula in 2009-2010 among pre-clerkship medical students at the University of Toronto.
METHODOLOGY: A paper-based questionnaire was completed by pre-clerkship medical students at the University of Toronto in November 2009 (n=191) and in May 2010 (n=152). The questionnaires assessed students’ current level of interest in surgery, the effect of elective surgical education opportunities on students’ level of interest in surgery, and the students’ perception of surgical education in the pre-clerkship curricula.
RESULTS: Of 191 who completed the survey in November 2009, 46 (24.1%) were very interested in surgery, 85 (44.5%) were somewhat interested, 38 (19.9%) were not interested, and 22 (11.5%) were unsure. Of 152 who completed it in May 2010, 38 (25.0%) were very interested, 56 (36.8%) were somewhat interested, 47 (30.9%) were not interested, and 11 (7.2%) were unsure. The only significant change was “not interested” category (Nov. 19.9% v. May 25.0%, p=0.02). Of 121 Students who attended operating theatre, 79 (65.3%) thought the experience increased their interest in surgery, whereas only 5 (4.1%) thought it lowered their interest. Similarly, among 62 students who have had hands-on experience (i.e. suturing), 43 (69.4%) thought the experience increased their interest and 2 (3.2%) felt it lowered their interest. Among 152 students, 84 (55.3%) felt that there was either too little or less than needed amount of surgical education in pre-clerkship compared to 4 (2.6%) students who felt that there was too much or more than needed amount.
CONCLUSION: Students have high level of interest in surgery as a career choice. Yet, the majority of students feel that the 2009-2010 pre-clerkship curricula provided less than satisfactory amount of surgical education.