Introduction/Background*The shortage of physicians poses increasing challenges to surgical oncological disciplines. Formerly motivated students lose their interest in surgery during their studies or during their practical year. To counteract this development, students need to be more strongly and sustainably inspired for surgery and equipped with important abilities to deal with the various challenges during their early career. The Surgical Oncology Curriculum for the individual support of ambitious students (SOCIUS) is intended to address precisely this issue. Upon completion of the program, students should be optimally prepared for careers in university surgical oncology medicine and excel in specific skills.
Methodology SOCIUS Mentoring was founded as a joint project of gynecology, urology and visceral surgery to prepare motivated students for a surgical university career through individual mentoring and training of surgical skills and soft skills. Therefore, a structured curriculum of six modules (80 hours) was developed. These modules consisted of the following: Mentoring by a senior physician; practical surgical skill training (suturing, laparoscopy, robotic surgery); soft skill training (presentation and negotiation skills, statistical literacy); theoretical skill training (in all three disciplines); clinical observations; participation at a scientific meeting. Effects on physician skills and student attitudes toward surgery were determined by questionnaires
Result(s)*Students significantly improved their surgical skills and soft skills. This was documented by increased confidence scores (figure 1) and improved scores in simulator training. In addition, students reported that they have specified their career goals and gained more confidence in surgery, as well as seeing more development potential in a surgical career (figure 2). Satisfaction with the program was also reflected in the absolute recommendation rate of the course to friends (MW 5.0, scale 1-5).
Conclusion*With this study, we describe the first successful implementation of an extracurricular program targeted at highly motivated students that combines individual mentoring with surgical and soft skills training. Individual support of students through a combination of mentoring and skills training is a promising way to prepare and motivate students for their residency in surgical disciplines and thus to counteract the shortage of young talent in surgical disciplines.
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