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Impact of an Ultrasound Demonstration on Vascular Surgery Interest in Pre-Clinical Medical Students

      ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

      • Type of Research: Single-center prospective
      • Key Findings: Attendance at a vascular ultrasound 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) as determined by a pre- and post- demonstration survey.
      • Take home Message: Ultrasound demonstrations could be used at other medical schools to generate interest in vascular surgery, potentially addressing impending vascular surgeon shortages.

      Abstract

      Objectives

      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 pre-clinical medical students.

      Methods

      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 (RVT) covered physics, B-mode, and continuous, pulsed wave, and color Doppler in an interactive, hands-on experience. Our dedicated ultrasound simulation lab enabled simultaneous interactive virtual broadcast and in-person learning. All first- and second-year students at our medical school were invited via email.

      Results

      512 students were invited, 39 attended, and 19 students who completed surveys were included. 68% were female. Attendance at the ultrasound 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). Though 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).

      Conclusions

      Attending an interactive US demonstration significantly increased pre-clinical medical students’ interest in and understanding of VS. In-person and virtual attendance both had 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.

      Keywords

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