DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad241.422 ISSN:

2 Medical student learning in the operating room: Through the lens of the surgical teacher

Mohammed El-hassan
  • Surgery


Aims and Objectives

The aims were to deduce surgeons' experiences and challenges of teaching medical students in the operating room and solutions to overcome them. The objectives to achieve this was using pre-existing published and grey literature relating to surgeons' experiences teaching medical students in the operating room.


A systematised literature review based on a comprehensive search strategy, including quality assessment, was conducted. Two databases, MEDLINE and EMBASE, were searched since inception until March 2022. Grey literature was searched for in The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) bulletin, as they publish relevant manuscripts related to surgical education. Title and abstract review was performed by two reviewers on 220 papers. The identified studies were then assessed against the eligibility criteria.


A total of 8 papers were included in this review. Following the analysis of the literature, the commonalities captured were categorised into themes for thematic analysis. Themes included student preparation and organisational aspects, attitudes towards active participation of learner, student learning priorities, undergraduate curricula awareness and learning objectives, educational environment of the operating room and teaching techniques and engagement in the operating room.


Numerous commonalities were captured in the literature, replicable in multiple countries, highlighting the need for a standardised undergraduate surgical curriculum. Many of the challenges of teaching identified by surgeons are modifiable, therefore more initiatives need to be in place to extract the educational potential in the operating room.

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