Comparison of Home Video Curriculum and Bi-Monthly Skills Sessions in Acquisition of Basic Surgical Skills

Investigator: Huey-lan Chern, MD
Sponsor: Association of American Medical Colleges

Location(s): United States


With duty hour restrictions, surgical residents have reduced opportunities to master basic surgical skills in the operating room. While workshops and longitudinal sessions have shown promise as non- operating room methods to enhance proficiency through ongoing structured practice, these sessions take time away from clinical opportunities. A supplemental home- based curriculum is an innovative way to reinforce skill development with the flexibility of practice at home.

After sessions on knot tying and suturing, learners were asked to practice specific tasks at home. They videotaped their performance on these tasks once they felt proficient. Trained faculty raters evaluated and gave feedback on the videos. Learners completed a 10- item, anonymous Likert-scaled questionnaire about the utility and feasibility of completing these exercises.

Sixteen first-year surgical residents enrolled in the supplemental home-based curriculum. Six months into the academic year, all completed the tasks described above. Three-fourths of residents agreed that the assignment encouraged practice of their technical skills. Those who practiced more were the ones who perceived greater benefit to the activity (p=0.030). Barriers to completing the assignment were lack of available free time (100%) and technical difficulties with video recording hardware and software (63%). Learners recommended developing manuals and sample videos.

This innovative supplemental home-based curriculum is feasible, encourages practice, and provides opportunity for one-on-one feedback. It can be easily adopted by other institutions. Our next steps will be to employ easier video technology and develop resources for home-based learning.