Journal of Surgical Simulation 2021; 8: A: 1 - 1

Published: 30 June 2021


Meeting abstract

Special Issue: A novel use of the WhatsApp platform to aid surgical teaching

Gnananandan Janakan
Corresponding author: Gnananandan Janakan, King's College Hospital, London, UK. Email:


Introduction: Currently, there is very little surgical teaching due to the Covid-19 response. New methods need to be developed to take advance of in prompt opportunities. WhatsApp is a widely used messaging application which can be utilised for teaching.

Method: A WhatsApp group consists of Foundation Year one (FY1) and Foundation intermediate Year one (FiY1) doctors (the team) as well as a registrar (the narrator). A fictional case (with predetermined details and learning objectives) is described and the team ask questions about the history and examination findings. The narrator answers the questions to develop the case. When appropriate, the narrator will move the case on to investigations and then to the management. Open source Google images of clinical signs, diagrams of information or anatomy and radiological images would be inserted into the discussion when needed.

Results: 8 FY1s, 4 FiY1s and 1 ST8 make up the group. Cases include small bowel obstruction, lower GI bleed and upper GI perforation. Other issues are added such as types of CT scans and contrast, blood transfusions and the surviving sepsis bundle. Timing of responses varies greatly from a few seconds to many hours. Individual participation is variable but the small group of peers allows for honest comments.

Conclusion: This novel opportunistic teaching method fills the current deficit left by the Covid-19 response, allowing individuals to learn on their terms such as level of participation and availability to learn.

Additional Information

This presentation was given at the SES 2020 online conference, 4 July 2020.