DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.054 ISSN:

786 A Collaborative, Online, 'Near-Peer' Teaching Programme for Medical Schools with Short Breast Surgery Rotations

J C J Tai, M S Sangha, M Ahmed
  • Surgery



The quality of teaching for breast surgery, a niche specialty that medical schools dedicate little placement time to, can vary from hospital to hospital. This single-centre cross-sectional study investigated whether a new near-peer teaching programme could improve this.


An online teaching programme was created and executed by final year medical students (‘near-peers’) for penultimate year students rotating through a week-long Breast Surgery placement at a major teaching hospital in London, United Kingdom. It consisted of asynchronous pre-tutorial Single Best Answer questions and an online small group tutorial and was conducted every three weeks for a year. A mix of qualitative and quantitative data were collected using feedback forms.


Thirty students opted in. The pre-tutorial SBAs were rated 4.07 out of 5, while the near-peer interactive tutorial scored 4.77 out of 5. Students’ self-reported confidence, on a scale of 1 to 5, increased significantly by an average of 1.5 points (p <0.001). Students also rated this programme either the same or more highly than all other teaching modalities available during these their clinical placements. Thematic analysis of free-text responses showed that students enjoyed the interactivity of the sessions, the exam relevance of the content covered, and the utility of this programme in consolidating information at the tail-end of their placements.


This novel interactive teaching programme was designed and executed relatively easily by near-peers, was received favourably in our pilot, and can be easily implemented for other 'short-rotation specialties' in medical school (e.g., urology, vascular surgery, ENT).

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