The healthcare industry advances every day with new medicines, techniques, and breakthrough treatments that save millions of lives. If there’s one thing that has changed steadily throughout the years, it is surgical training. What began as one-on-one apprenticeships has turned into an entire educational system, begging the question, what’s next? First, let’s take a look at its history.
Perhaps since the birth of surgery until the 19th century, apprenticeships were the norm for surgical training. Students would start apprenticeships around the age of 13 and learn from their master for 5-7 years. After, they could continue training with the same master or begin their surgical career. The student would learn surgical skills through observation and imitation of the master’s actions. Students would rarely work directly with patients during their training. Around this time, surgery was considered more of a trade than a profession. It continued this way until almost the end of the 19th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, surgical training began to transform into a more formalized and structured educational system. Students were finally able to work directly with patients to learn the skills they needed. With this new structure, students and surgeons were on the same page. They knew what their training entails, when it should start, and how long it should last.
Operating theaters began to transform from spectator events to more hands-on and up-close training. Students interacted with surgeons, patients, and their peers to get a comprehensive understanding of surgical techniques.
The concept of the operating theater continues in the 21st century. Students and training surgeons continue to gather in crowded operating rooms to learn necessary skills. However, this process can be difficult, inefficient and costly. It may take students several observational sessions before gaining knowledge and confidence to perform the surgery themself.
Beginning now and moving into the future, virtual reality is shaping the next step of how we train surgeons.
The future of surgical training
Real-time training with virtual reality allows students access to live surgeries from anywhere in the world. Students no longer need to travel long distances or crowd operating rooms to gain the valuable experience they need to become working surgeons. VR helps students earn essential OR experience from top-rated surgeons wherever they need.