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Surgical Innovation
January 6, 2021

Virtual Boot Camps—An Emerging Solution to the Undergraduate Medical Education–Graduate Medical Education Transition

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
JAMA Surg. 2021;156(3):282-283. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.6162

The issue of a seamless transition between undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education has been a topic of interest for medical educators across the country. A live video-conference–based surgical boot camp experience rapidly expands the possibilities of how we can approach that phase of medical training. Attempts have been endeavored to improve the quality of education in the final year of medical school, and in some cases, attempts have been made to eliminate it altogether.1 A training experience that begins immediately after the residency match and is specific to the health care system that the medical student is destined to join has a range of benefits over current models for boot camp, including those developed by undergraduate medical educators and/or a compact, high-volume model, as is offered in many surgical residency programs.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Regarding Virtual Boot Camps
    Patrick Cleary, MD, PhD, FACS | IUHealth Ball Memorial Hospital -Affiliate Staff Surgery
    I read with great interest the recent article "Virtual Boot Camps" that appeared in the Surgical Innovation section JAMA SURGERY Jan 6th,2021 by Drs. Farr, Zeh and Abdelfattah. They describe a well-defined elective program to help ease the transition from medical school to surgical residency. Tremendous opportunity also exists to utilize that entire last year of medical school for such preparation as well. Entering my final year (1984) and having declared my intent to pursue a surgical career, I sought such guidance from our Surgery Department Chair. Those suggestions that followed have served me well for 35 years.
    1) Take as many immersive rotations as possible in the non-surgical subspecialties that you will be interfacing as a resident (and later as an attending) that you did not experience in your 3rd year. You will greatly expand your general fund of medical knowledge along with the confidence that you took full advantage of these learning opportunities.
    2) Seek out for those clinical scenarios to acquire/hone your basic procedural skills. Your early ability to ably manage central lines, chest tubes or smoothly secure the contents of a clamp with a 3-0 silk mark the beginning of your journey to surgical autonomy.
    3) My 2021 suggestion: In your "spare time" peruse the biographies/autobiographies of Drs. Evarts Graham, Robert Zollinger, Denton Cooley, Richard Fox and Ben Carson. They are all informative, entertaining and provide us with important perspectives as we enter the 21st century. Best wishes to you all.