Early and prolonged opportunities to practice suturing increases medical student comfort with suturing during clerkships: Suturing during cadaver dissection

Edward P. Manning, Priti L. Mishall, Maxwell D. Weidmann, Herschel Flax, Sam Lan, Mark Erlich, William B. Burton, Todd R. Olson, Sherry A. Downie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Medical students are expected to perform common procedures such as suturing on patients during their third-year clerkships. However, these experiences are often viewed by medical students as stressors rather than opportunities for learning. The source of this stress is the lack of instruction on common procedures prior to being asked to observe or perform the procedure on a patient. First-time exposures to procedures in stressful environments may result in decreased confidence in medical students and decrease the frequency with which they perform these procedures in the future. The authors sought to change this paradigm by: (1) introducing a suturing module to first-year medical students in the context of the anatomy dissection laboratory and (2) measuring its effects on student attitudes and behavior over the course of their third-year clerkships when they encounter patients. The authors found that early and prolonged introduction to suturing was associated with increased student confidence relative to suturing a patient. Participation in the suturing module was associated with increased student confidence in identifying suturing instruments (P < 0.001) and suturing patients (P = 0.013). Further it positively affected their behavior as demonstrated by increased performance of suturing events from students exposed to the suturing module. (P < 0.001) This study demonstrates that early and prolonged opportunities to practice a procedural skill in a low-stress environment increases student confidence during patient interactions and alters student behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-612
Number of pages8
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018



  • behavioral change
  • confidence
  • early exposure
  • gross anatomy education
  • gross anatomy laboratory
  • medical education
  • surgical skills
  • suturing module

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Embryology

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