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Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2016 Jan;22(1):106-8. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivv280. Epub 2015 Oct 13.

Inspiring the next generation of Cardiothoracic Surgeons: an easily reproducible, sustainable event increases UK undergraduate interest in the specialty.

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University of Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK
University of Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK.
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK.
Papworth Hospital, University of Cambridge Health Partners, Cambridge, UK.


There is believed to be declining interest in cardiothoracic surgical careers among UK medical students. Relative lack of undergraduate exposure to the specialty compared with other surgical specialties may be partly responsible. Using pre- and postintervention analysis, we assessed the ability of a student-led extracurricular engagement event to increase undergraduate interest in the specialty. Fifty-four students attended and 50 (93%) participated in the study. Of the total, 32% of delegates had identified a cardiothoracic mentor, with only 8 and 4% exposed to cardiac and thoracic surgery, respectively, compared with 50% exposed to other surgical specialties. Self-reported understanding of cardiothoracic training increased from 20 to 80% (P < 0.001) after the 1-day event; 77% of delegates reported increased interest in the specialty. We demonstrate that it is possible to provide a free-to-user event that increases engagement using a student-led design. Similar events could increase interest in the specialty and may improve recruitment rates. Current levels of cardiothoracic exposure are very low among UK students.


Cardiac surgery; Education; Thoracic surgery; Training

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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