Influencing Medical Student Education Via a Voluntary Shadowing Program for Trauma and Acute Care Surgery

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Decreasing application into trauma surgery may be attributed to decreased exposure during medical school. We instituted a voluntary trauma call program for students to provide exposure to the field. After 3 years, participants completed a survey to gauge their experience. Of 126 students who participated, 68 completed the survey (54%). Interest in trauma surgery among students not previously planning on a career in surgery (n = 48) improved after the experience (4.4–5.3 of 10 points; P < .005). Operative experience, exposure to a higher number of trauma cases, and time with residents were associated with increased interest in trauma surgery. Witnessing patient death for the first time was associated with decreased interest in trauma surgery. A voluntary overnight shadowing program improves medical students’ perceptions of trauma surgery and increases their reported likelihood to apply into a surgical residency.

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