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Developing a novel international undergraduate surgical masterclass during a financial crisis: our 4-year experience


Background Essential Skills in the Management of Surgical Cases (ESMSC) is a novel 3-day international undergraduate surgical masterclass. Its current curriculum (Cores integrated for Research—Ci4R) is built on a tetracore, multiclustered architecture combining high-fidelity and low-fidelity simulation-based learning (SBL), with applied and basic science case-based workshops, and non-technical skills modules. We aimed to report our experience in setting up ESMSC during the global financial crisis.

Methods We report the evolution of our curriculum’s methodology and summarised the research outcomes related to the objective performance improvement of delegates, the educational environment of the course and the use of mixed-fidelity SBL. Feedback from the last three series of the course was prospectively collected and analysed using univariate statistics on IBM SPSS V.23.

Results 311 medical students across the European Union (EU) were selected from a competitive pool of 1280 applicants during seven series of the course between 2014 and 2017. During this period, curriculum 14 s evolved to the final Ci4R version, which integrates a tetracore structure combining 32 stations of in vivo, ex vivo and dry lab SBL with small group teaching workshops. Ci4R was positively perceived across different educational background students (p>0.05 for any comparison).

Conclusions ESMSC is considered an innovative and effective multidisciplinary teaching model by delegates, where it improves delegates objective performance in basic surgical skills. Our experience demonstrates provision of high-quality and free surgical education during a financial crisis, which evolved through a dynamic feedback mechanism. The prospective recording and subsequent analysis of curriculum evolution provides a blueprint to direct development of effective surgical education courses that can be adapted to local needs.

  • medical education
  • undergraduate surgical education
  • simulation-based learning
  • financial crisis
  • surgery

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