Prior interventions to address declining interest in surgical careers have focused on creating early exposure and fostering mentorship at the preclinical medical student level. Navigating the surgical environment can be challenging, however, and preclinical students may be more likely to pursue a surgical career if they are given the tools to function optimally.We designed a 10-wk technical and nontechnical skills curriculum to provide preclinical students with knowledge and skills necessary to successfully navigate the surgical learning environment, followed by placement in high-fidelity surgical simulations and scrubbing in on operative cases with attending surgeons. We administered pre-post surveys to assess student confidence levels in operative skills, self-perceptions of having a mentor, overall course efficacy, and interest in a career in surgery.The overall response rates presurvey and postsurvey were 100% (30 of 30) and 93.3% (28 of 30), respectively. Confidence levels across all operative skills increased significantly after completing the course. Faculty mentorship increased significantly from 30.0% before to 61.5% after the course. Overall effectiveness of the course was 4.00 of 5 (4 = "very effective"), and although insignificant, overall interest in a career in surgery increased at the completion of the course from 3.77 (standard deviation = 1.01) to 4.17 (standard deviation = 0.94).Our curriculum was effective in teaching the skills necessary to enjoy positive experiences in planned early exposure and mentorship activities. Further study is warranted to determine if this intervention leads to an increase in students who formally commit to a career in surgery.
View details for PubMedID 29078916