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Elucidating academic surgical staff perspectives of medical student learning in the operating room: An embedded mixed methods study


      • Surgical staff and medical student interactions are crucial for interpersonal dynamics.
      • Majority of staff are unaware of what medical student education comprises of.
      • Experienced staff were less likely to feel that students compromised patient safety.



      The operating room (OR) is a complex environment for medical students. Little is known about the OR staff's perception of medical students.


      We utilized an embedded mixed methods design to characterize surgical staff perceptions of students at an academic institution. We surveyed 408 OR nursing/technician staff with 16 follow-up interviews.


      139 respondents. 91.3% reported having daily-to-weekly interactions with medical students. Yet, only 37.9% agreed that “patient care is better when medical students are part of the team.” 25.2% felt confident that they knew what a student's education entails outside the OR. 93.5% agreed that interprofessional training between physicians and OR staff should be included in educational programs. 54% agreed that their responsibilities include medical student training in the OR setting.


      Despite an overall desire for teamwork, this study highlights a lack of knowledge of each others' roles. To improve OR culture and team dynamics, concerted efforts need to be made around interprofessional training.

      Graphical abstract


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