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Authors Sullivan SA, Bingman E, O'Rourke A, Pugh CM
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Journal Am. J. Surg. Volume: 211 Issue: 4 Pages: 689-696.e1
Publish Date 2016 Apr
PubMed ID 26879419

Surgical education programs are increasingly challenged to make medical students’ learning experiences in their surgery rotation meaningful while making the most of limited faculty resources and maximizing patient safety. Simulations and virtual environments are potential resources for providing meaningful clinical learning experiences.Ninety-eight 3rd-year medical students used the Virtual Surgical Patient Cases software as a part of their surgery clerkship. We used a mixed-methods approach to data collection and analyses to investigate how students and faculty engaged with cases as teaching and learning tools.Students improved their clinical reasoning skills significantly at each case attempt, but made some errors consistently across attempts. Faculty used the information provided about students’ decisions during the cases to guide their teaching during case discussions.Including more cases in the surgical clerkship could allow students additional practice with making diagnoses and facilitate an interactive role in discussing cases with faculty. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System