YouTube is the Most Frequently Used Educational Video Source for Surgical Preparation

J Surg Educ. 2016 Nov-Dec;73(6):1072-1076. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2016.04.024. Epub 2016 Jun 14.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate surgical preparation methods of medical students, residents, and faculty with special attention to video usage.

Design: Following Institutional Review Board approval, anonymous surveys were distributed to participants. Information collected included demographics and surgical preparation methods, focusing on video usage. Participants were questioned regarding frequency and helpfulness of videos, video sources used, and preferred methods between videos, reading, and peer consultation. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS.

Setting: Surveys were distributed to participants in the Department of Surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, a tertiary care center in Iowa City, Iowa.

Participants: Survey participants included fourth-year medical students pursuing general surgery, general surgery residents, and faculty surgeons in the Department of Surgery. A total of 86 surveys were distributed, and 78 surveys were completed. This included 42 learners (33 residents, 9 fourth-year medical students) and 36 faculty.

Results: The overall response rate was 91%; 90% of respondents reported using videos for surgical preparation (learners = 95%, faculty = 83%, p = NS). Regarding surgical preparation methods overall, most learners and faculty selected reading (90% versus 78%, p = NS), and fewer respondents reported preferring videos (64% versus 44%, p = NS). Faculty more often use peer consultation (31% versus 50%, p < 0.02). Among respondents who use videos (N = 70), the most used source was YouTube (86%). Learners and faculty use different video sources. Learners use YouTube and Surgical Council on Resident Education (SCORE) Portal more than faculty (YouTube: 95% versus 73%, p < 0.02; SCORE: 25% versus 7%, p < 0.05). Faculty more often use society web pages and commercial videos (society: 67% versus 38%, p < 0.03; commercial: 27% versus 5%, p < 0.02).

Conclusions: Most respondents reported using videos to prepare for surgery. YouTube was the preferred source. Posting surgical videos to YouTube may allow for maximal access to learners who are preparing for surgical cases.

Keywords: Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Medical Knowledge; Patient Care; Practice-Based Learning and Improvement; Professionalism; Systems-Based Practice; YouTube; surgical education; surgical preparation; video.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data
  • Iowa
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Video Recording / statistics & numerical data*