skip to Main Content

Summer Course Equipped Medical Students with Impressive Surgical Skills

The first summer course in simulated surgery used tests to ensure that the students acquired the desired theoretical and especially practical skills. This approach provided for motivated students who impressed the course leader with their great technical skills.

In August 2017, CHI held the first summer course in simulated surgery. The summer course gives Danish and international medical students a unique opportunity to train and improve their surgical skills through innovative hands-on simulation training.

“At the summer course we train young doctors who are not just good on a theoretical level, but who also have practical surgical skills”, says professor of medical education, Lars Konge from CAMES (the Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation), who is the course leader at the summer school.

Evidence-Based Education

The summer course uses an evidence-based teaching approach to ensure that the students actually gain new skills:

“You can confirm acquired competencies by testing the students. During the summer course we have intense focus on testing the surgical skills because research shows that when you test people, they become more motivated, they are better prepared, they remember better and they acquire new skills better”, says Lars Konge.

With two multiple-choice tests on surgical knowledge given at the start and end of the course, four tests on surgical skills as well as oral feedback on open surgery, there has been a high concentration of tests to ensure a competency boost in the participating 26 Danish and international students.

Motivated Students Passed the Tests with Flying Colours

“From day one we told them that if they did not commit and train extra, they would not pass. It came as a surprise to several students that we made such high demands. They were pressured and had to use the weekends to train. No one would get there without hard work. But it also made them overperform on last day of testing”, says Lars Konge.

He emphasises that the level at the summer school is set according to young graduate doctors and not according to medical students.

All the more, it is impressive to see how much the students improved theoretically and achieved practical surgical skills.

See all the test results here:

  • Points to pass / Max. points
  • Best score
  • Average score

Here, the students are looking at an iPad while doing various exercises with operating tools on the other side of a plate.

Bronchoscopy: endoscopy of the respiratory tract

Written test with 36 multiple-choice questions on subjects taught at the summer course. The test is given before and after the course.

Lars Konge was present and observed the test on bronchoscopy, i.e. endoscopy of the respiratory tract. As responsible for the bronchoscopy education, he has seen hundreds of doctors perform the procedure.

“I was deeply impressed with their technical skills. They all passed with flying colours. It was clear that they had all been training for many hours”, he says.

Practical Access is of Great Importance, but Demands Many Resources

The students were positive about the way the summer course had been organised.

“The different procedures and techniques we learned were all very relevant and the way we were allowed to practice helped me a lot to learn it; instead of just reading about it”, says one of the students in the evaluation.

The evaluation is generally very positive in relation to medical courses at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, says Anne-Grethe Routley, head of the International Section:

“It is well done at the first shot!”

She also believes that it is particularly due to the practical hands-on approach to surgery.

“The course is very practice-oriented. The skills the students train and the labour market requirements are clearly consistent. It means a lot for the students that they can instantly convert knowledge and skills to their future work”, says Anne-Grethe. “In addition, I feel that there have been high ambitions and earnestness among both teachers and students – this provides for a challenging, but at the same time satisfying learning environment.”

Lars Konge is very pleased that the Capital Region has staked on and granted funds to develop and run a surgical summer course, but at the same time he finds it a bit frustrating that a summer course of this kind demands do many resources:

“It is enormously resource-intensive to develop skills in this way (via simulation training, ed.), but by means of tests we can directly demonstrate that the students have achieved a competency boost that enables them to more successfully operate on their upcoming patients”, he emphasises.