Innovation in internship preparation: An operative anatomy course increases senior medical students' knowledge and confidence

Nikki Tocco, Melissa Brunsvold, Loay Kabbani, Jules Lin, Brent Stansfield, Dean Mueller, Rebecca M. Minter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Background: An operative anatomy course was developed within the construct of a surgical internship preparatory curriculum. This course provided fourth-year medical students matching into a surgical residency the opportunity to perform intern-level procedures on cadavers under the guidance of surgical faculty members. Methods: Senior medical students performed intern-level procedures on cadavers with the assistance of faculty surgeons. Students' confidence, anxiety, and procedural knowledge were evaluated both preoperatively and postoperatively. Preoperative and postoperative data were compared both collectively and based on individual procedures. Results: Student confidence and procedural knowledge significantly increased and anxiety significantly decreased when preoperative and postoperative data were compared (P <.05). Students reported moderate to significant improvement in their ability to perform a variety of surgical tasks. Conclusions: The consistent improvement in confidence, knowledge, and anxiety justifies further development of an operative anatomy course, with future assessment of the impact on performance in surgical residency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-279
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2013



  • Internship
  • Medical students
  • Operative anatomy
  • Preparatory curricula
  • Surgical education
  • Surgical training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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