Implementation of a novel portfolio of structured, curriculum-aligned, simulation-based, cardiothoracic surgery training courses: Evolving the delivery of surgical education

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Abstract

Objective:

The provision of high-quality cardiothoracic surgical training faces many challenges. This has generated an increased interest in simulation-based learning, which can provide a less stressful environment for deliberate practice. We developed a comprehensive, structured program of knowledge and simulation-based learning aligned to the official cardiothoracic surgery curriculum.

Methods:

A portfolio of 10 curriculum-aligned training courses was designed for cardiothoracic surgical trainees during their 6-year training program. The courses were delivered through a multitude of education methods, including live porcine operating simulation models, and were evaluated through a series of quantitative (5-point Likert-scale) and qualitative assessments. The trainees (n = 15–21 per course) also completed pre- and postsession self-confidence and competency levels for each training episode of knowledge and skill, respectively. In addition, board examination pass rates were assessed in the 3-year periods before and after implementation of the courses.

Results:

Quantitative analysis of the trainees' feedback demonstrated an extremely positive view of the portfolio of the simulation-based training courses with excellent satisfaction scores (out of 5) for teaching sessions (4.44 ± 0.07), faculty (4.64 ± 0.07), content and materials (4.63 ± 0.07), and facilities (4.73 ± 0.05). The courses have shown a significant improvement in the post–self-confidence (7.98 ± 0.13 vs 5.62 ± 0.20, P < .01) and perceived self-competency (8.10 ± 0.10 vs 5.67 ± 0.11, P < .01) scores for all courses. Examination pass rates significantly improved in the 3-year period after attendance at the courses (94.82% ± 2.34% vs 76.26% ± 3.23%, P < .005).

Conclusions:

This study has described the implementation of the only extensive program of structured simulation-based courses that has been developed to complement clinical training in cardiothoracic surgery.

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