Implementation of a Surgical Problem-Based Learning Curriculum: A One-Year Single-Center Experience

Joshua P. Kronenfeld, Rebecca A. Saberi, Alessia C. Cioci, Eva M. Urrechaga, Emily L. Ryon, Chad M. Thorson, Vanessa W. Hui, Steven E. Rodgers, Laurence R. Sands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Surgeon
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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