Multiple Uses for Procedural Simulators in Continuing Medical Education Contexts

Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 1112)


Simulators have been widely adopted to help surgical trainees learn procedural rules and acquire basic psychomotor skills, and research indicates that this learning transfers to clinical practice. However, few studies have explored the use of simulators to help more advanced learners improve their understanding of operative practices. To model how surgeons with different levels of experience use procedural simulators, we conducted a quantitative ethnographic analysis of small-group conversations in a continuing medical education short course on laparoscopic hernia repair. Our research shows that surgeons who had less experience with laparoscopic surgery tended to use the simulators to learn and rehearse the basic procedures, while more experienced surgeons used the simulators as a platform for exploring a range of hernia presentations and operative approaches based on their experiences. Thus simple, inexpensive simulators may be effective with both novice and more experienced learners.


Surgery education Procedural simulation Continuing Medical Education (CME) Quantitative ethnography Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) Discourse analysis 



This work was funded in part by the National Science Foundation (DRL-1661036, DRL-1713110), the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A. R. Ruis was supported by a University of Wisconsin-American College of Surgeons Education Research Fellowship. The opinions, findings, and conclusions do not reflect the views of the funding agencies, cooperating institutions, or other individuals.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Stanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

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