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Br J Neurosurg. 2014 Oct;28(5):680-4. doi: 10.3109/02688697.2014.896873. Epub 2014 Mar 14.

Evaluation of the contribution of theatre attendance to medical undergraduate neuroscience teaching--a pilot study.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust , Belfast , UK.



Medical students often attend the neurosurgical theatre during their clinical neurosciences attachment. However, few studies have been performed to objectively assess the value of this theatre-based learning experience. The main aim of this study was to explore student perceptions on the contribution of neurosurgical theatre attendance to clinical neuroscience teaching.


Third-year medical students undergoing their 2-week clinical neurosciences rotation at the Royal Hospitals Belfast were invited to participate in this study. A multi-method strategy was employed using a survey questionnaire comprising of closed and open-ended questions followed by semi-structured interviews to gain a greater 'in-depth' analysis of the potential contribution of neurosurgical theatre attendance to neuroscience teaching.


Based on the completed survey responses of 22 students, the overall experience of neurosurgical theatre-based learning was a positive one. 'In-depth' analysis from semi-structured interviews indicated that students felt that some aspects of their neurosurgical theatre attendance could be improved. Better preparation such as reading up on the case in hand and an introduction to simple theatre etiquette to put the student at ease (in particular, for students who had never attended theatre previously), would improve the learning experience. In addition, having an expectation of what students are expected to learn in theatre making it more learning outcomes-based would probably make it feel a more positive experience by the student.


The vast majority of students acknowledged the positive learning outcomes of neurosurgical theatre attendance and felt that it should be made a mandatory component of the curriculum.


medical students; neurosurgery theatre-based learning

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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