Comparing the effects of physical practice and mental imagery rehearsal on learning basic surgical skills by medical students

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Nov;191(5):1811-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.07.075.

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to test the effects of varying the amount of physical practice and mental imagery rehearsal on learning basic surgical procedures.

Study design: Using a sample of 65 second-year medical students, 3 randomized groups received either: (1) 3 sessions of physical practice on suturing a pig's foot; (2) 2 sessions of physical practice and 1 session of mental imagery rehearsal; or (3) 1 session of physical practice and 2 sessions of imagery rehearsal. All participants then performed a surgery on a live rabbit in the operating theater of a veterinary college under approved conditions. Analysis of variance was applied to pre- and post-treatment ratings of surgical performance.

Results: Physical practice followed by mental imagery rehearsal was statistically equal to additional physical practice.

Conclusion: Initial physical practice followed by mental imagery rehearsal may be a cost-effective method of training medical students in learning basic surgical skills.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / education*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy*
  • Learning*
  • Models, Animal
  • Rabbits
  • Suture Techniques / education
  • Swine
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Texas