Lights, Camera, Surgery: Take 2

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 52, No. 10, December 2010, Pages 501-502 MDs To Be

Lights, Camera, Surgery is a novel educational project out of the Office of Pediatric Surgery Evaluation and Innovation (OPSEI) that engages medical students in filming surgical procedures and preparing instructional videos. The purpose of this project is to create educational videos that medical students and residents may view to learn and review various procedures. It is also a way to build interest in surgical careers among medical students and introduce them to the operating room. 

Mr Damian Duffy, the executive director of OPSEI, says Lights, Camera, Surgery is a chance to “give junior medical students the opportunity to experience surgical services first hand. Most medical students haven’t had the opportunity to be in the operating room until now, so that’s our primary motivation. The second is giving the students a direct role in the development of surgical videos as education resources.”

Lights, Camera, Surgery was created by the OPSEI team, which in­cludes Mr Damian Duffy, Dr Geoffrey Blair, Dr John Masterson, and two student captains each year; Mr Simon Jones and Mr Tyler Fraser were student captains in 2009, and Mr Kelvin Kwan and Mr Chris Wu are student captains in 2010.

Dr Blair previously used videos to teach surgical residents and says that the idea for combining video teaching tools and getting medical students into the OR came together naturally. Students act as project managers who create the storyboard and script, film the procedures, edit, narrate, and finally produce 5- to 7-minute instructional videos. Once produced, these videos become teaching tools for future medical students and residents.

Lights, Camera, Surgery provides a unique experience for both students and mentors. Dr Blair, pediatric surgeon at BC Children’s Hospital and one of the project mentors, explains: “The students know more about how to produce a video and the surgical mentors know more about the surgical procedure, so it’s a symbiotic student-mentor relationship. The mentors become better teachers, it’s fun, and it captures the imaginations and enthusiasm of mentors and students alike.”

In addition to being a valuable learning tool, Lights, Camera, Surgery provides a unique opportunity for medical students to interact with doctors outside of the traditional teaching environment. Ms Anu Ghuman, one of the UBC medical students on this year’s team, says, “The project was a great learning experience and the perfect summer project for me. I really enjoyed being in the operating room and learning from mentors as they were all very willing to teach us. I made some great contacts this summer.” 

The first year for Lights, Camera, Surgery—2009—involved 13 medical students from UBC. The students made 19 videos on surgical and medical topics ranging from circumcision to excisional biopsy. The video Excisional Bi­opsy won the 2009 Best Surgical Education Video at OPSEI Rounds.

Three videos were made in conjunction with the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council and were submitted to the 2009 Golden Safety Pin Competition presented at the Canadian Healthcare Safety Symposium. The videos were Needlestick Injuries: Prevention and Protocol, The Open Gowning and Gloving Technique, The Closed Gowning and Gloving Technique, and Teaching Safe Sharps Handling in the Operating Room. All received honorable mentions at the symposium.

The Lights, Camera, Surgery project was also presented at the Western Student Medical Research Forum in Carmel, California, in January 2010 as well as the Canadian Association of the Pediatric Surgeons Meeting in Sas­k­atoon in September.

This year the team consisted of nine UBC medical students and one undergraduate science student from UBC. Lights, Camera, Surgery introduced palliative care videos to the lineup of surgical and medical procedures in conjunction with the Providence Health Care Palliative Team. Various medical, surgical, and palliative care video ideas were completed during an 8-week period over summer break. 

The palliative care videos included Topical Opioids for Painful or Fungating Wounds and Voluntary Withdrawal of Dialysis. The surgical videos included Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Repair, Arterial Switch Procedure, Lapro­scopic G Tube Placement, and Setting and Casting a Fracture.

Mr Tin Jasinovic, one of the students, says, “I learned a lot about organizational preparedness for making videos that at first seem simple but require a lot of thought before the video is completed. This was a great experience and one that I will definitely remember for a long time.”

The video Safe Surgery Checklist by Dr Geoffrey Blair, Ms Kristin De­Girolamo, Ms Ida Molavi, and Mr Ian Wilson won the Golden Safety Pin Award at the Canadian Healthcare Safety Symposium in Halifax this October. Two other videos from the 2010 project, Hands for Health and Scrubbing In, both by Ms Jennifer Yam, Mr Steven Rathgeber, and Dr Monica Langer, were also presented at the symposium. 

There is one more year of funding from the Teaching and Learning En­hancement Fund at UBC remaining for the project. Plans for next year are currently in the works, with interest from other procedure-based specialties such as radiology, nursing, obstetrics, and gynecology.
The videos are available online on Medicol for access by UBC students, faculty, and residents. Medicol can be accessed at with a campus-wide login.

OPSEI is funded by BC Children’s Hospital Foundation at BC Children’s Hospital. These films were made possible through vital competitive funding from the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund at the University of British Columbia.


Ms DeGirolamo and Ms Molari are University of British Columbia medical students in the class of 2013.

Kristin DeGirolamo, Pharm MD. Lights, Camera, Surgery: Take 2. BCMJ, Vol. 52, No. 10, December, 2010, Page(s) 501-502 - MDs To Be.

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