Wehbe-Janek H, Colbert CY, Govednik-Horny C, White BA, Thomas S, and Shabahang M. Residents perspectives of the value of a simulation curriculum in a general surgery residency program: a multimethod study of stakeholder feedback. Surgery.2012 Jun;151(6):815-21.

PMID: 22652123


Simulation has altered surgical curricula throughout residency programs. The purpose of this multimethod study was to explore residents' perceptions of simulation within surgical residency as relevant stakeholder feedback and program evaluation of the surgery simulation curriculum.

Focus groups were held with a sample of surgery residents (n = 25) at a university-affiliated program. Residents participated in focus groups based on level of training and completed questionnaires regarding simulation curricula. Groups were facilitated by nonsurgeon faculty. Residents were asked: "What is the role of simulation in surgical education?" An interdisciplinary team recorded narrative data and performed content analyses. Quantitative data from questionnaires were summarized using descriptive statistics and frequencies.

Major themes from the qualitative data included: concerns regarding simulation in surgical education (28%), exposure to situations and technical skills in a low-stress learning environment (24%), pressure by external agencies (19%), an educational tool (17%), and quality assurance for patient care (12%). Laparoscopy and cadaver lab were the most prevalent simulation training during residency, in addition to trauma simulations, central lines/chest tubes/IV access, and stapling lab. In response to the statement: "ACGME should require a simulation curriculum in surgery residency," 52.1% responded favorably and 47.8% responded nonfavorably.

Residents acknowledge the value of simulation in patient safety, quality, and exposure to procedures before clinical experience, but remain divided on efficacy and requirement of simulation within curricula. The greater challenge to residency programs may be strategic implementation of simulation curricula within the right training context.