Journal of Surgical Simulation 2021; 8: A: 11 - 11

Published: 30 June 2021


Meeting abstract

Special Issue: Surgical on-call simulation: an effective teaching method for medical students

Byung Choi, Michel Alhilani, Amal Minocha, Lavandan Jegatheeswaran and Ernest Mutengesa
Corresponding author: Byung Choi, The Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Uxbridge, UK. Email:


Introduction: Newly graduated doctors are required to take on clinical responsibilities independently. Foundation Year 1 doctors (FY1) are often the first port of call for the surgical wards, with surgical trainees being required to attend operating lists and clinics. An on-call simulation teaching course was designed to explore final year medical students’ expectations and attitudes, and assess its educational value. 

Methods: Twelve final year medical students attended three simulated on-call sessions throughout their surgical rotations. Students were given bleeps (pagers) and tasked with answering and managing common surgical bleep calls. Each student received individual feedback and debriefing. Students’ confidence and perceived readiness for starting as a doctor was measured through pre- and post-course feedback forms using confidence and agreeableness based Likert scales.  

Results: Students felt more confident in approaching common surgical on-calls as a FY1. Of the cohort, 25% (n=3) had previously shadowed surgical on-call shifts, whilst 83% (n=10) of students felt medical school curricula in the UK did not prepare them adequately for on-call shifts. All students found it more useful to have surgical on-call simulation than seminars and 100% of students strongly agreed that they would recommend the teaching session to others. 

Conclusion: The surgical on-call simulation provided students with better insight into on-call work. The students consistently found on-call work to be the most challenging, prior to beginning their careers as doctors. This is a feasible programme to introduce to the undergraduate medical curriculum.


medical education; surgical training; simulation; surgical on call

Additional Information

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