Although nationally recognized learning objectives for undergraduate surgical education exist, the extent to which Canadian medical schools follow these guidelines has never been established.
We distributed a survey to all program directors and clinical-teaching-unit coordinators for undergraduate surgery at Canada's 16 medical schools, and subsequently assessed the perceived emphasis placed on learning objectives and student performance, and the impact of instructional tools and teaching locations.
Program directors in 15 medical schools responded to the survey. We identified a wide variation in the emphasis placed on basic learning objectives as well as specialty specific learning objectives. The length of rotations, methods of instruction and tools used to grade student performance also varied widely.
Our findings suggest significant variation in the design and implementation of undergraduate surgical education in Canada. This study may serve as a basis for reassessing learning objectives in Canadian undergraduate surgical education.
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