Society For Clinical Vascular Surgery

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Mind Mapping: What Do Medical Students Think About Vascular Surgery?
Michael F. Amendola, MD, Brian Kaplan.
VA Medical Center/VCU Health System, Richmond, VA, USA.

Mind mapping1 a free response exercise that allows learners to express thoughts and impressions around a central topic. We sought to examine ready to graduate medical students about their impressions of vascular surgery.
An anonymous mind mapping exercise was conducted with fourth year medical students enrolled in a surgical elective at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in February 2017. All learners stated they have career plans that include general surgery or surgical subspecialty (none in vascular surgery). An example of a mind mapping was shown and all were asked to construct one for the central topic of "vascular surgery." The instructor gave five examples of positive and negative impressions of vascular surgery. Mind maps were then anonymously collected and examined. The learners were divided into two groups: no verses some/maximal experience with vascular surgery (VS).
RESULTS: 19 mind maps were collected, 9 learners had vascular surgery exposure.

Concept Mentioned …Exposed
(58 items)
Not Exposed
(67 items)
p value
… Endovascular Approach/Procedures6.9% (4/58)4.5% (3/67)0.7
… Open Approach/Procedures18.9% (11/58)10.4% (7/67)0.1
… Trauma Based Procedures1.7% (1/58)2.9% (2/67)1.0
… Compensation1.7% (1/58)3.0% (2/67)1.0
… Challenging/Demanding Cases12.0% (7/58)1.4% (1/67)0.02

There were 20.7% (12/58) versus 17.9% (12/67) positive comments about vascular surgery (chi squared; p=0.5).
CONCLUSIONS: With this limited sampling of fourth year medical students with surgery career plans, we find that exposure to vascular surgery did not seem to affect attitudes as it pertains to endovascular approaches, compensation, open surgery, vascular trauma, nor overall positive impressions. Interestingly, the "challenging/demanding" aspects of vascular surgery were more commonly responded by exposed students. These data should inform educators about impressions that novice medical learners are recalling from an exposure to vascular surgery during clinical rotations.
1 Buzan, T., Buzan B. (1996). The Mind Map® book. New York: Penguin Group.

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