Cope DH, Fenton-Lee D. Assessment of laparoscopic psychomotor skills in interns using the MIST Virtual Reality Simulator: a prerequisite for those considering surgical training?. ANZ J Surg. 2008 Apr;78(4):291-6

PMID: 18366403

Abstract

Selection for surgical training in Australia is currently based on assessment of a structured curriculum vitae, referral reports from selected clinicians and an interview. The formal assessment of laparoscopic psychomotor skill and ability to attain skills is not currently a prerequisite for selection. The aim of this study was to assess the innate psychomotor skills of interns and also to compare interns with an interest in pursuing a surgical career to interns with those with no interest in pursuing a surgical career. Twenty-two interns were given the opportunity to carry out tasks on the Minimal Invasive Surgical Trainer, Virtual Reality (Mentice, Gothenburg, Sweden) Simulator. The candidates were required to complete six tasks, repeated six times each. Scores for each task were calculated objectively by the simulator software. Demographic data were similar between the two groups. Although some candidates who were interested in pursuing a surgical career performed poorly on the simulator, there was no significant difference when comparing the two groups. The Minimal Invasive Surgical Trainer, Virtual Reality (Mentice) Simulator provides an objective and comparable assessment of laparoscopic psychomotor skills. We can conclude that interns have varying inherent ability as judged by the simulator and this does not seem to have an influence on their career selection. There was no significant difference in the scores between the two groups. Interns with and without inherent abilities have aspirations to pursue surgical careers and their aptitude does not seem to influence this decision. Surgical colleges could use psychomotor ability assessments to recruit candidates to pursue a career in surgery. Trainees needing closer monitoring and additional training could be identified early and guided to achieve competency.



Author's contacts: daroncope@yahoo.com.au


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