A novel approach to improve undergraduate surgical teaching

R C Baker, R A J Spence, M Boohan, A Dorman, M Stevenson, S J Kirk, K McGlade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Undergraduate surgery is at an important crossroads. Many departments report significant difficulties delivering effective teaching. Our student feedback indicated a dated surgical curriculum lacking structure, quality and uniformity. We report on a new "blended" approach employing a combination of professional DVDs, case based discussions, online material and traditional bedside teaching designed to provide structure, standardization, and equality of learning .

METHODS: Year 4 students who had undertaken the new course and year 5 students who had participated in the traditional teaching programme were compared. Students completed a 20 item questionnaire about their experiences of the surgical teaching programme.

RESULTS: One hundred and seventy-one year 4 (70%) and 148 year 5 students (66%) responded. Domains relating to "Overall Satisfaction with the course", "Approval of innovative teaching methods and interactivity" and "Satisfaction with the clarity of course information" showed improvements when comparing the new and old programmes. However bedside teaching was not rated as highly in the new programme (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: This blended approach has resulted in improved student understanding and engagement. The apparent compromise of bedside teaching may be a reflection of higher expectations. We believe that a similar blended approach has the potential to re-invigorate surgical teaching elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalThe Ulster Medical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Consumer Behavior
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate/methods
  • Female
  • General Surgery/education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Students, Medical


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