Orientation to the Operating Room: An Introduction to the Surgery Clerkship for Third-Year Medical Students

Trevor J. Barnum, David H. Salzman, David D. Odell, Elizabeth Even, Anna Reczynski, Julia Corcoran, Amy L. Halverson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: The operating room is a complex environment in which individual team members perform specific tasks according to their role. A simulation activity was created to introduce medical students on the surgery clerkship to issues relating to patient safety, infection control, and regulatory requirements. Methods: This activity takes place prior to general surgery rotation operative experiences, and addresses the need for students to practice roles they will perform while participating in patient care. The activity includes a simulated operation, an assessment, and a scripted debriefing. Among other tasks, students practice safe patient transfer and monitoring, donning sterile garb, preparing the surgical site, and being active participants in a sign-in and time-out. Students are assessed on assigned tasks, their ability to maintain sterility, and the degree to which they engage with their team. Results: Students reported the simulation helped them better understand how they could become involved on their first day in the operating room. Students also reported they were more confident when in the operating room. This finding also extended to students who had previously been in the operating room during a prior OB/GYN rotation. Discussion: Patient safety is paramount when in the operating room, and this simulation activity fills a current gap in student's practical knowledge as they prepare to enter their surgery clerkship. Giving medical students the information and skills needed to be safe and effective members of the operating team prior to entering the operating room is of benefit to the surgical team, students, and patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10652
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - Nov 14 2017


  • General Surgery
  • Operating Rooms
  • Safety
  • Simulation
  • Surgery


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