Context: Osteopathic medical schools have traditionally placed a heavy emphasis on the field of primary care. While graduating osteopathic students continue to pursue family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics at higher rates than their allopathic counterparts, it is unknown whether students feel that surgical rotations are held to similar standards.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess osteopathic medical student opinions of the quality of their surgical clerkships and to determine if good or poor experiences influenced their decision to continue pursuing surgery.
Methods: After Institutional Review Board approval, a voluntary and anonymous Qualtrics survey was sent to all nationally registered members of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, Medical Student Section (ACOS-MSS) in their final 2 years of medical school. Analyses were conducted utilizing R statistical software.
Results: A total of 345 responses were recorded from the Qualtrics survey sent to 2182 ACOS students from the national registry (response rate of 15.8 %). Students who found a mentor during their surgical rotations were more likely to consider a surgical career after they completed their rotations (odds ratio [OR]=1.43, p=0.003). Students at academic sites had more opportunities for research than those at community hospitals (p=0.019). Most students responded that they were still considering surgery as a career after rotation completion; a significant portion (OR=0.36, p<0.001) responded that they were no longer interested.
Conclusions: Medical students are most likely to review a surgical rotation favorably if they can connect with a mentor while on rotation. Osteopathic medical schools may benefit from instituting mentorship programs for students interested in surgery, as well as ensuring that their students have ample opportunity for research.