Impact of an Ultrasound Demonstration on Vascular Surgery Interest in Preclinical Medical Students


      One strategy to address the impending shortage of vascular surgeons is to augment interest in the trainee pipeline. Endovascular procedures are unique to vascular surgery (VS) and endovascular simulations have proven effective at generating VS interest in the past. Like endovascular techniques, the use of ultrasound (US) testing in VS is unique among medical specialties. We hypothesized that an interactive US demonstration would increase VS interest in preclinical medical students.


      We created a 5-point Likert scale survey assessing interest in VS, understanding of VS, likelihood to further investigate VS, choosing VS as a rotational elective, and pursuing VS shadowing and research opportunities. This survey was administered 1 day before and 1 day after the demonstration. Results were compared via paired t-test. A VS attending assisted by a senior registered vascular technologist covered physics, B-mode, continuous, pulsed wave, and color Doppler in an interactive, hands-on experience. Our dedicated US simulation laboratory enabled simultaneous interactive virtual broadcast and in-person learning. All first-year and second-year students at our medical school were invited via e-mail.


      Five hundred twelve students were invited, 39 attended, and 19 students who completed surveys were included. Sixty eight percent were female. Attendance at the US demonstration resulted in a significant increase in students’ interest in vascular surgery (P = 0.012), understanding of vascular surgery (P < 0.001), likelihood to further investigate vascular surgery (P < 0.001), likelihood to choose a vascular surgery rotation (P < 0.001), and likelihood to pursue vascular surgery shadowing and research opportunities (P < 0.001). Although only 2 of 6 in-person attendees returned surveys, their increase in average response to all questions was higher than virtual attendees (+1.80 vs. +0.91, P = 0.043).


      Attending an interactive US demonstration significantly increased preclinical medical students’ interest in understanding of VS. In-person and virtual attendance both had a positive impact. Such a demonstration may be an effective tool to recruit students. It is imperative that we continue innovating to address the future shortage of vascular surgeons.
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