Background: Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has become an integral part of medical student education for preclinical curricula, but few studies have evaluated the benefits of a PBL curriculum for clinical education. This study aims to assess the 1-year experience after implementing a resident-led PBL program for the third-year (MS3) surgery clerkship and compare students’ self-reported preparedness following PBL sessions to traditional faculty-led lectures. Methods: Surgical faculty and residents developed a PBL curriculum to address common topics in surgical education. Pandemic requirements necessitated a switch from in-person to virtual sessions during the experience. Students enrolled in the MS3 surgical clerkship were asked to participate in a survey. Demographics and clerkship data were obtained. Quality of PBL and faculty-led lectures were assessed using a ten-point Likert scale, and standard statistical analyses were performed. Results: During the study period, 165 students rotated through surgery, of which 129 (78%) responded to the survey (53% female, 59% white). PBLs were held in-person (53%), exclusively virtual (32%) or hybrid (15%) platforms. In-person PBLs were preferred to faculty-led lectures for preparing students for NBME examinations (6.9 vs 6.0), oral examinations (7.8 vs 6.3), and surgical cases (6.3 vs 5.8), all P <.001. Virtual PBLs were also preferred to lectures for preparing students for NBME examinations (6.8 vs 5.8, P <.001) and surgical cases (5.6 vs 4.8, P =.05). Conclusions: PBL is a valuable adjunct for medical student education. Resident-led PBLs were preferred to faculty-led lectures for preparing students for examinations and clerkship experiences and may be useful adjuncts to clinical education.
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