Objectives: Medical students spend significant time in the operating room during clinical training. Many technical skill domains are learned through trial and error, which can affect student confidence and patient safety. This project assessed the technical knowledge and comfort of third-year medical students to identify their needs for technical skills training before surgical exposure.
Methods: One hundred nine students provided data in an anonymous survey on the first day of their core obstetrics/gynecology clerkship. The survey used a 4-point Likert scale to query self-assessed competence, comfort, and knowledge of technical skill domains for the operating room.
Results: Students who rated introductory skill domains positively rated themselves higher on complex skill domains (2.47 vs 3.75, P < 0.001). Most students (91%) who positively assessed complex domains also rated introductory domains positively. There was good correlation with comfort in the operating room and the introductory skill domains of surgical scrub (0.782) and gowning and gloving (0.784) (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Students who rate complex domains highly overwhelmingly rate introductory skills highly, providing an opportunity to triage technical skill knowledge. A focus on introductory skill domains may be beneficial for preparing preclinical students for the operating room.