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Introduction of Suturing Skills Acquisition into Undergraduate Surgical Education: Early Experience from Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Background: Undergraduate medical students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, had over the years acquired various skills informally without structured training in basic skills in wound closure. The Department of Surgery introduced suturing skills acquisition workshop into the curriculum of the Final-Year Medical Students in 2016. This study describes the preliminary experience and the perception of the participants.

Methods: All students undergoing the senior rotations in surgery and surgical specialties were taken through a day suturing skills workshop at the surgical skills laboratory. Skills were demonstrated using validated narrative videos followed by practical sessions supervised by senior registrars and consultant surgeons. All participants were requested to complete a feedback form after the workshop.

Results: One hundred and eighty students were trained in six workshop sessions per year over two academic sessions. There were 128 (71.1%) male and 52 (28.9%) female students trained by 9 consultants and 13 senior registrars with 15-17 students in each session. Self-assessment feedback after the workshop revealed that all but 3 (1.7%) students felt very confident in handling basic instruments, 102 (56.7%) were confident of their proficiency in basic suturing, 68 (37.8) were less confident, whereas 10 (5.6%) were not confident looking ahead and 82 students (46.1%) wanted additional skills to attain proficiency in some common surgical procedures prior to graduation.

Conclusion: The department achieved the aim of introducing suturing skills acquisition into undergraduate surgical education. In the future, other surgical skills acquisition workshops may be considered as desired by the students.

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