Journal of Surgical Simulation 2021; 8: A: 9 - 9

Published: 30 June 2021


Meeting abstract

Special Issue: Building a virtual community of practice based on critical appraisal skills - the CRAMSURG experience

Giordano Perin, Adam Hague, Joshua Lau, Benjamin Wood and Sabapathy Balasubramanian
Corresponding author: Giordano Perin, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield, UK. Email:


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant effect on the way surgical ‘communities of practice' (CoP) function in relation to continuing educational activities. Our aim was to build a virtual CoP aimed to develop critical appraisal and methodology skills (e-journal club).

Methods: Virtual journal club sessions were started using Skype conferencing. This involved critical appraisal of papers (each presented by two trainees), tutorial on research methodology and discussion. Live sessions are accessible to surgical trainees in the region (peer advertisement and institutional email advertisement), are recorded and distributed online ( in video and audio format. Medical students are being recruited to help with minuting sessions, video/audio editing, social media presence and building educational resources. 

Results: At the time of submission seven sessions were recorded and distributed. Four medical students were recruited to participate and volunteer. Nine trainees took part by critically appraising a paper (six at CT level, three at ST level). Median number of participants per session was 15 (IQR 10-16). Based on feedback from participants, peer communication was the most effective advertisement pathway (14/16).  420 website user sessions, 162 YouTube views and 39 Spotify podcasts starts were observed in the first 28 days. 

Conclusion: Building a virtual CoP for surgical education can be achieved using freely available tools. A website provided an essential platform to aid distribution of content. The format most commonly accessed by learners was video. Peer advertisement was more effective than institutional advertisement.


virtual journal club; online learning; surgical education

Additional Information

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