American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
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Improving Plastic Surgery Exposure for Medical Students: Creation and Validation of an Online Learning Module
Meera Reghunathan MD; Rachel Segal MD; Chris Reid MD; Amanda Gosman MD
Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, UC San Diego, San Diego, CA

Background: Exposure of medical students to the field of plastic surgery is limited, as most students will not rotate in plastic surgery and almost half of medical schools do not have plastic surgery residency programs. This project aims to validate an online plastic surgery learning module (PSLM) for medical students
Methods: This project was funded by an American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons/ Plastic Surgery Foundation Combined Pilot Training grant. An investigator (M.R.) created the PSLM content using Articulate Storyline 360 (2018) (Figure 1). Student participants were recruited from a single medical school and administered pre- and post- module surveys via Qualtrics for usability and efficacy. Scores were computed for the general surgical knowledge section (score out of 16), and for each specialty referral question (hand-6, craniofacial/pediatric-6, reconstruction/microsurgery-5, and breast/aesthetic-6)
Results: 12 participants completed usability testing. All usability criteria and module pages were rated on average higher than a 4.6/5 on a Likert Scale of 1 (not usable) to 5 (very easy to use). 65 students completed efficacy testing (Table 1). Average time of completion was 66 minutes. Students were nearly 100% accurate in identifying breast-related referrals in the pre-module survey, unlike pediatric/ craniofacial (avg: 68%), reconstruction/ microsurgery (avg: 64%), and hand/ upper extremity (avg: 30%). Students of all classes exhibited significant improvement in all testing categories except for breast, with the most improvement noted in the hand category (Table 2). Students with an interest in surgery (59%) achieved higher post-module general surgical knowledge scores (p=0.01). Prior exposure to plastic surgery (57%) correlated with higher pre-module hand (p=0.003) and breast/cosmetic (p=0.01) scores
Conclusion: Disparities exist in medical student understanding of the scope of plastic surgery. The plastic surgery learning module (PSLM) is a promising tool to teach plastic surgery to students without access to plastic surgery education, with the highest impact amongst first and second year medical students in the topics of hand, reconstruction, and pediatric plastic surgery. 1. Agarwal, Jayant P., et al. “Medical Student Perceptions of the Scope of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.” Annals of Plastic Surgery, vol. 70, no. 3, 2012, pp. 343–349., doi:10.1097/sap.0b013e31823b6c19.


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