Poppy Redman is currently working at Wellington Regional Hospital as a General Surgical Registrar and has a keen interest in Medical Education.
Preparing for the Front Line: How Can We Better Equip Our Trainee Interns for Life as a Surgical House Officer?
Aims: The ability of a team’s House Officer significantly affects patient care, as well as the working life of a surgical team. Yet we continue to use an apprenticeship model of teaching during their Trainee Intern (TI) year, often relying on doctors with no education training to teach them how to become safe and effective junior doctors. We sought to augment our TIs’ development by providing structured sessions designed to improve their ability to: recognise sick patients; escalate management as required; prescribe appropriately and safely; prioritise multiple tasks; and communicate effectively.
Methods: We designed and delivered interactive weekly teaching sessions to our TIs over their six-week surgical placements, culminating in a ‘Virtual on Call’. We assessed the efficacy of our ‘Preparation for Practice’ programme using students’ self-assessment of their ability before and after the teaching. Questions addressed different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956).
Results: Feedback demonstrates that the TIs found the teaching relevant and useful, with 91% of 74 students giving a 5/5 star rating. Preliminary results show that TIs scored their abilities an average of 33% higher during their post-programme self-assessment. The greatest improvements were in higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy; ‘Evaluate’ and ‘Create’ domains improved by 43% and 42% respectively.
Conclusions: By supplementing TIs learning during this critical training year with our ‘Preparation for Practice’ sessions designed for adult learners, we can produce more competent House Officers. This programme could be widely replicated across New Zealand’s District Health Boards and ultimately we hope its effects translate into improved patient care and happier surgical teams.
Bloom, B.S. 1956. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKary Co Inc.