Long-term impact of a preclinical endovascular skills course on medical student career choices.
OBJECTIVE: Surging interest in the 0 + 5 integrated vascular surgery (VS) residency and successful recruitment of the top students in medical school requires early exposure to the field. We sought to determine the impact of a high-fidelity simulation-based preclinical endovascular skills course on medical student performance and ultimate career specialty choices.
METHODS: Fifty-two preclinical medical students enrolled in an 8-week VS elective course from 2007 to 2009. Students completed a baseline and postcourse survey and performed a renal angioplasty/stent procedure on an endovascular simulator (pretest). A curriculum consisting of didactic teaching covering peripheral vascular disease and weekly mentored simulator sessions concluded with a final graded procedure (posttest). Long-term follow-up surveys 1 to 3 years after course completion were administered to determine ultimate career paths of participants as well as motivating factors for career choice.
RESULTS: Objective and subjective performance measured on the simulator and through structured global assessment scales improved in all students from pre- to posttest, particularly with regard to technical skill and overall procedural competency (P < .001). Prior to enrolling in the course, 9% of the students expressed high interest in VS, and after completing the course, this response nearly tripled in terms of seriously considering VS as a career option (P = .03). Overall interest postcourse in VS and procedural-based surgical specialties was nearly 90%. In long-term follow-up, 25% were still strongly considering integrated VS residencies, with other top career choices including surgical subspecialties (64%), radiology (10%), and cardiology (6%). Most respondents indicated major reasons for continued interest in VS were the ability to practice endovascular procedures on the simulator (92%) and mentorship from VS faculty (70%).
CONCLUSIONS: Basic endovascular skills can be efficiently introduced through a simulation-based curriculum and lead to improved novice performance. Early exposure of preclinical medical students provides an effective teaching and recruitment tool for procedural-based fields, particularly surgical subspecialties. Mentored exposure to endovascular procedures on the simulator positively impacts long-term medical student attitudes toward vascular surgery and ultimate career choices.
Lee, Jason T; Ji H Son; Venita Chandra; Emily Lilo; and Ronald L Dalman.
"Long-term impact of a preclinical endovascular skills course on medical student career choices.."