Increasing motivation and engagement in neurosurgery for medical students through practical simulation-based learning.
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Background: Simulation-based learning (SBL) is an essential adjunct to modern surgical education. Our study aimed to evaluate the educational benefit and motivational impact of a pilot practical neurosurgical module. Materials and methods: 38 clinical medical students from several EU Medical Schools attended an international surgical course focused on teaching and learning basic surgical skills. We designed a pilot neurosurgical workshop instructing students to insert an intracranial pressure bolt using an ex vivo pig model. Each delegate was assessed by two consultant neurosurgeons using a validated assessment tool. Structured questionnaires were distributed on completion of the module. Results: Delegate performance increased (p < 0.001) with no difference in performance improvement across year of study (p = 0.676) or medical school (p = 0.647). All delegates perceived this workshop as a potential addition to their education (median 5/5, IQR = 0), and indicated that the course provided motivational value towards a neurosurgical career (median 4/5, IQR = 1), with no difference seen between year of study or medical school (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Our pilot neurosurgical workshop demonstrated the educational value of practical SBL learning for motivating students towards a surgical career. Homogeneous views across year of study and medical school underline the value of developing a unified strategy to develop and standardise undergraduate surgical teaching with a practical focus.
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