Background Emergency technical procedures performed by medical students have decreased in the last decade. An Emergency Surgical Skills Laboratory (ESSL) using a non-preserved cadaver was developed in response to address this deficiency. Methods A total of 232 students rotating through a 6-week surgery clerkship participated in the ESSL from1 July 2008 to 1 July 2011. Two four-hour sessions using case-based trauma scenarios in the ESSL served as a model for procedural instruction. Skills taught included basic suturing, intubation, cricothyrotomy, chest tube placement, thoracentesis, venous access, central line, and radial arterial line placement. Results Students noted that technical proficiency in suturing was obtained during the ESSL sessions in comparison to the emergency department or operating room (p\0.001) during the 6-week clerkship. During the 6-week rotation only 12 % of students participated in chest tube insertion, 5 % central venous line placement, and 14 % femoral vein blood draw. Finally, 90 % of respondent reported increased understanding and comfort in regard to trauma resuscitation following the ESSL. Conclusions Technical procedural proficiency has become increasingly difficult to obtain in medical school due to multifactorial limitations. The ESSL provides an opportunity for developing technical skills needed for emergency situations not otherwise provided during the surgical clerkship.
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