An Interdisciplinary Approach to Surgical Skills Training Decreases Programmatic Costs

Jonathan D'Angelo, Mara Snyder, Jason Bleedorn, Robert Hardie, Eugene Foley, Jacob A. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical resident duty hour limitations have necessitated operative skill training outside of the operating room. Although wet-lab skills training is ideal, materials and human resource requirements make wet labs-utilizing biologic samples cost prohibitive for many residency programs. To resolve this problem, our general surgery residency program collaborated with the Institution's School of Veterinary Medicine Surgery Residency program to pilot a cost-effective interdisciplinary surgical skills curriculum. Materials and methods: The general surgery residency program manager and program director initiated a collaboration with the Veterinary Surgery Residency. Postgraduate year (PGY) 2 general surgery residents and PGY 1-3 veterinary surgery residents participated in monthly joint surgical skills practice sessions. A novel interdisciplinary surgical skills curriculum was implemented that incorporated skills beneficial to both sets of trainees utilizing donated canine cadavers. Results: A total of nine joint skills sessions were conducted for nine general surgery residents and five veterinary surgery residents. A cost analysis was conducted for a surgical skills curriculum servicing both programs independently and compared to the actual costs of the collaborative curriculum. The cost analysis estimated total savings generated by the collaborative to be $27,323.79. Review of initial feedback from trainees suggest that skill sessions reinforce knowledge, and that the collaborative skills sessions were an enjoyable and valuable learning activity. Conclusions: The skills curriculum collaborative has proven to be a cost-effective and high quality interdisciplinary pedagogic tool. The partnership allowed for mutually beneficial resource sharing and allowed for the initiation of a surgical skills wet lab that had previously been unavailable to both groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-606
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaboration
  • Cost savings
  • Education
  • Simulation
  • Skills lab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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