Assessment of Manual Skills Proficiency of Medical Students Considering Surgical Training

Salim S Abunnaja, MD, Shohan Shetty, MD, Andrew Kelsey, J.Alexander Palesty, MD, FACS

The Stanley Dudrick Department of Surgery, Saint Mary’s Hospital

Manual skill proficiency and ability to attain skills are not currently employed in selecting residents for surgical training programs. The study objective was to assess whether the technical skill levels and ability to attain skills are higher in medical students considering surgical training versus those considering nonsurgical training.

Twenty-four medical students at a community hospital underwent manual skill testing during their core General Surgery rotation. Three laparoscopic tasks (Grasping, Lifting & grasping and Camera coordination) were assessed on a virtual reality (VR) simulator (LapSim, Goteborg, Sweden). Performance scores were stored in the computer database. The results were analyzed and compared between medical students considering surgical training versus those considering nonsurgical training.

Twenty-four medical students (12 male & 12 female) were assessed. Seven students expressed interest in surgical training (group 1) and 17 expressed interest in nonsurgical training (group 2). Out of the total number of students Six students were considered to have high manual skills (total repetitions < 10 ), 11 students had average skills (total repetition between10-20 ) and 5 students had low skills (total repetition > 20). No statistical significant differences were noticed between group 1 & 2 in the average scores or in the number of repetitions in all three tasks (P values range from 0.1 to 1.0).

Although Virtual reality simulators might be good tools in objectively assessing manual dexterity and visual coordination necessary for future laparoscopic surgical training, there is no evidence at this stage of our study to suggest the routine use of such simulators in the selection process for surgical training programs. Larger and longer terms studies are still needed in this evolving field.

Session: Poster Presentation

Program Number: P139

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