Can medical students achieve skills proficiency through simulation training?

Rebekah A. Naylor, Lisa A. Hollett, R. James Valentine, Ian C. Mitchell, Monet W. Bowling, A. Moe Ma, Sean P. Dineen, Brandon R. Bruns, Daniel J. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether third-year medical students can become proficient in open technical skills through simulation laboratory training. Methods: A total of 204 students participated in a structured curriculum including bladder catheterization, breast examination, and knot-tying. Proficiency was documented using global rating scales and validated, objective, model-based metrics. Results: For catheterization and breast examination, all trainees showed proficiency, and self-rated comfort increased in more than 90%. For knot-tying, 83% completed the curriculum; 57% and 44% of trainees showed proficiency for 2- and 1-handed tasks, respectively. Objective performance scores improved significantly for 2- and 1-handed knot-tying (62.9-94.4 and 49.2-89.6, respectively; P < .001) and comfort rating also increased (28%-91% and 19%-80%, respectively; P < .001). Conclusions: Objective scores and trainee self-ratings suggest that this structured curriculum using simulator training allows junior medical students to achieve proficiency in basic surgical skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Proficiency
  • Simulation
  • Surgical education
  • Technical skills


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