Can medical students achieve skills proficiency through simulation training?

Am J Surg. 2009 Aug;198(2):277-82. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2008.11.036. Epub 2009 Apr 10.


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether third-year medical students can become proficient in open technical skills through simulation laboratory training.

Methods: A total of 204 students participated in a structured curriculum including bladder catheterization, breast examination, and knot-tying. Proficiency was documented using global rating scales and validated, objective, model-based metrics.

Results: For catheterization and breast examination, all trainees showed proficiency, and self-rated comfort increased in more than 90%. For knot-tying, 83% completed the curriculum; 57% and 44% of trainees showed proficiency for 2- and 1-handed tasks, respectively. Objective performance scores improved significantly for 2- and 1-handed knot-tying (62.9-94.4 and 49.2-89.6, respectively; P < .001) and comfort rating also increased (28%-91% and 19%-80%, respectively; P < .001).

Conclusions: Objective scores and trainee self-ratings suggest that this structured curriculum using simulator training allows junior medical students to achieve proficiency in basic surgical skills.

MeSH terms

  • Breast
  • Clinical Clerkship
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manikins*
  • Physical Examination
  • Prospective Studies
  • Students, Medical*
  • Suture Techniques
  • Texas
  • Urinary Catheterization
  • Videotape Recording