Is a Video Worth a Thousand Words? Educating Preclinical Medical Students on Sterile Scrubbing, Gowning, and Gloving Virtually and In-Person


  • Ashlie A. Elver University of Kansas School of Medicine
  • Maxwell C. Braasch, MPH
  • Stefano Byer University of Kansas School of Medicine
  • Lisa Gilmer, M.D.
  • Kevin J. Sykes, Ph.D., MPH
  • Chad Tuchek, M.D.
  • Peter DiPasco, M.D., FACS, FSSO



medical education, pilot projects, coronavirus, medical students, surgery


Introduction. Programs that offer early exposure to surgery for medical students foster interest in and positive perceptions of surgery. The COVID-19 pandemic led to suspension of these activities at our institution, the University of Kansas School of Medicine. In response to the lack of virtual alternatives, a pilot virtual surgery enrichment program was implemented for first-year students in place of in-person surgical exposure. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of in-person and virtual-based surgical education programs to expose preclinical medical students about the surgical realm of medicine. 

Methods.First-year medical students participated in either a virtual (Group A) or in-person (Group B) week-long surgical enrichment program. Group assignments were dictated by COVID restrictions on each of our three medical school campuses: Salina, Wichita, and Kansas City. Pre- and post-surveys with a 14-question multiple-choice assessment of surgical knowledge were distributed to participants. Paired Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests and Mann-Whitney-U tests were used for statistical analysis.

Results. There were 14 participants in Group A and 7 participants in Group B. Both groups improved significantly from pre- to post-assessment score. (Group A, p = 0.01; Group B, p = 0.04). There was no difference between groups in the magnitude of score improvement from pre- to post-assessment (p = 0.59).

Conclusion. This pilot program demonstrated that virtual platforms can be a method to provide meaningful clinical experiences in surgery to preclinical medical students restricted from clinical activities. Further development of mentorship in virtual surgical programs and assessment of subjective experience is needed.

Author Biographies

Ashlie A. Elver, University of Kansas School of Medicine


Maxwell C. Braasch, MPH


Stefano Byer, University of Kansas School of Medicine







Original Research