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Strategies for Increasing Medical Student Awareness and Exposure to Vascular Surgery in Canada: New Ventures for 2012
Kyle Hunt, MD Candidate1, Douglas Wooster, MD2, Andrew Dueck, MD2, Elizabeth Wooster, M.Ed., PhD(c)2.
1McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, 2University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

OBJECTIVES: As of 2012, there will be a five-year, direct-entry residency program (0+5) in vascular surgery in Canada. This presents an opportunity to investigate the most effective strategies for raising medical student awareness, knowledge, and interest in a career in vascular surgery. In the current medical school curriculum only a fraction of students will have exposure to vascular surgery. The use of electronic communication tools and multimedia may have a role in generating interest in vascular surgery amongst potential applicants.
METHODS: A survey to be hosted on an encrypted online survey website (SurveyMonkey.com) and sent to all medical students in Ontario was developed to assay demographic data, 12 career choice determinants, the availability and usage of computers, laptops, and portable devices and preferred social networking and communication methods. A small-scale beta test survey was conducted on a sample of 20 medical students. Comments and feedback received during the test survey period were used to guide the creation of the finalized complete survey.
RESULTS: The type of clinical problems encountered, lifestyle factors and difficulty in obtaining a residency ranked highly in specialty selection. Future income, research potential and malpractice issues had a low ranking. Information was best delivered in Pre-clerkship. Websites with individual or aggregate residency information were most useful; journal articles and mass emails were not. All students owned a computer and MP3 player; 70% had a ‘smartphone’ capable of data transmission. The complete survey was elaborated to address more detailed study of best approaches to electronic communication regarding vascular specialty training and practice based on the findings of this beta survey.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified the preferences of medical students for receiving information regarding residency selection. We demonstrated the feasibility of further assessing this through a detailed internet-based survey. The information obtained will be useful to develop focused, effective and efficient communication strategies for vascular surgical training programs in addressing the 0+5 program development.


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