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Mind Over Matter: Self-perception Of Skills Impacts Career Aspirations And Learning In An Undergraduate Vascular Simulation Workshop
James M. Dittman, BS, Dongjin Suh, BS, Kedar S. Lavingia, MD, Michael Amendola, MD, MEHP.
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.

OBJECTIVES: Interest in understanding and encouraging vascular surgery career aspirations during undergraduate medical education has paralleled changing training patterns. Simulation workshops are thought to positively influence specialty perception. We set forth to survey pre-clinical student career attitudes and explore whether these attitudes impacted performance and learning during a specialty-focused workshop and post-workshop career aspirations. METHODS:
Pre-clinical medical students self-rated fine motor skills as greater than peers (4 of 5 scale or >; high self-raters; HSR) versus average or below (≤ 3 low self-raters; LSR) before completing six surgical, endovascular, and clinical skills stations. Students rated vascular skill set importance and career aspirations before and after the workshop using a five-point scale. Station challenge level, amount learned, and self-performance were rated. Analysis included unpaired t-test*, repeated measures paired t-test**.
RESULTS: All stations were completed by 6 HSR and 16 LSR. Vascular aspirations were equal pre and post-session and were overall higher in HSR than LSR (3.81.0 vs. 2.90.6; p=0.01*). HSR reported more learning than LSR in two equivalently rated stations (4.80.4 vs.4.10.7; p=0.02*). There were no significant differences for other measures including performance. Ratings for open skill importance in vascular surgery increased pre to post session (3.60.8 vs. 4.70.5; p=0.0001**) for all students.
CONCLUSIONS:
Among students with equivalent performance, HSR were significantly more open to pursuing the vascular specialty and reported more learning during simulation than LSR. Perceived ability may impact career aspirations and self-perception of learning during surgical skill exposure. Future efforts will explore targeting and understanding LSR to encourage recruiting these learners into surgical specialties.


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