Impact of an Interprofessional Surgical Skills Workshop on Undergraduate Medical and Nursing Student Interest in a Career in Surgery: A Thematic Analysis

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Objective: Medical student interest in surgery is decreasing both internationally and in Australia. There is also a current shortage of perioperative nursing staff, and demand for both surgeons and perioperative nurses is only expected to rise. The aim of this qualitative thematic analysis is to explore: (1) medical and nursing student's influences on their perspectives on surgery, and (2) the impact of a novel, interprofessional, simulation-based workshop on medical and nursing student interest in surgery as a career. Design: A paired, anonymous pre- and postworkshop written survey was completed by medical and nursing student participants before and immediately after the surgical skills workshop. Thematic analysis of the responses was performed by 2 researchers independently to identify themes and subthemes regarding the study aims. Setting: The study was conducted at Monash Medical Centre, a tertiary care center in Melbourne, Australia. Participants: One hundred and seventy-six undergraduate medical and nursing students attended the workshop, consisting of 144 fourth-year medical students (enrolled in a 5-year course) and 32 second-year nursing student volunteers (enrolled in a 3-year course). Results: Analysis of how students’ prior surgical experiences impacted their perspective on surgery revealed 5 themes: inclusive mentors and role models, learning through active participation, feeling unwelcome or intimidated, demands of the surgical lifestyle, and personal factors that influenced interest in surgery as a career.Most students reported that the workshop had a beneficial effect on their perception of surgery as a career. Analysis of student responses found 3 themes that affected the impact of the workshop on their interest in surgery: simulated practice of technical skills, exposure to nontechnical aspects of surgery, and simulation fidelity. Conclusions: Interprofessional, simulated-based surgical skills workshops may improve medical and nursing students’ perceptions of surgery as a career, and should be considered for inclusion in undergraduate medical and nursing curricula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-913
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • interprofessional
  • medical student
  • nursing student
  • surgical career interest
  • surgical skills

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