Technical Skills Rotation for General Surgery Residents1

Ray I. Gonzalez, Jose M. Martinez, Alberto R. Iglesias, Emanuele Lo Menzo, Duane Hutson, Danny Sleeman, Alan S. Livingstone, Atul K. Madan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Technical skills are an important part of any general surgery residency curriculum. With the demands of limited work weeks, it is imperative that educators create novel methods of teaching technical skills to their residents. Our program utilizes a dedicated month to help accomplish this. This study hypothesized that general surgery residents would report a positive effect of a dedicated technical skills rotation. Methods: Residents who had undergone a 1 mo rotation in technical skills during their first year were asked to fill out a survey concerning their experience. During the 1-mo rotation, the residents had almost no clinical responsibilities. Teaching of technical skills was performed with various activities, including video content (VC), virtual reality simulators (VR), open foam procedures (OF), laparoscopic box trainers (BT), surgical equipment in-service (SE), and animate sessions (AS). Responses were given on a Likert scale (1-10) with higher numbers being more positive responses. Results: There were seven residents in this study. The residents gave a very positive response to the overall rotation (9.4) and exposure to laparoscopic procedures (9.6). The other responses were enthusiastic as well: exposure to open procedures (8.9) and preparation for operative room (9.4). After their rotation, the residents were comfortable performing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (9.2), a hand-sewn anastomosis (8.7), and a stapled anastomosis (9.4). The residents found theses activities helpful in increasing order: VC (7.8), VR (8.0), BT (9.0), ES (9.7), OF (9.8), and AS (9.8). Conclusions: A 1-mo dedicated technical skills rotations was perceived to be extremely positive by the residents. The residents felt very comfortable performing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a hand-sewn anastomosis, and a stapled anastomosis. With the 80-h work week, alternatives to learning technical skills in the operating room are essential. Further studies need to be performed to determine if this rotation aids in accomplishing this goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-182
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2010


  • box trainers
  • clinical rotation
  • inanimate trainers
  • resident education
  • technical skills
  • virtual reality trainers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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