Surgical hand ties: a student guide

Jesse Ende

Jesse Ende
Fourth Year Medicine (Undergraduate) University of New South Wales

Jesse is a fourth year medical student at the University of New South Wales. He has a passion for surgery and for teaching, both of which he intends to pursue in the future.

Surgical  hand  ties  are  a  procedural  skill commonly employed in surgery; however, student    exposure    to    practical    surgical experience  is  often  limited.  Students are therefore often excited at the opportunity to learn these skills to practise for themselves. Often the only opportunities to formally learn these skills come in the form of workshops presented at student conferences or run by university special interest groups.

Having attended such surgical skills workshops I have noticed the difficulty demonstrators and students have had in teaching and learning learn and master hand ties.

In addition to being an individual resource, this guide was also created for use in a workshop setting. Ideally, a demonstrator would show the students the basic steps involved in hand ties. The guide could then be used to reinforce this learning, where the student can practise with the sutures in their hands while following the steps using a combination of pictures, text, and memory aids. This would also have the benefit of letting the demonstrator help students with more specific questions on technique, rather  than  repeating  the  same the skill of surgical hand ties. I felt this was the product of two things: the difficulty the tutors had in demonstrating the small movements of the fingers to an audience; and the students’ difficulty with remembering each step later. Therefore, I combined an easy to follow graphic with some helpful memory aids into a simple resource to help medical students demonstration multiple times.

The overall aim of this guide is to make the process of learning and teaching surgical hand ties to students easier, and to improve recall and proficiency for students performing the skill through the use of simplified steps and diagrams.

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Conflict of interest

None declared.


J Ende: