Purpose Many medical schools have begun to offer surgical boot camps to senior medical students. The aim of the present study is to systematically review the literature and evidence surrounding medical school surgical boot camps to direct future research into the effectiveness of boot camps. Methods A systematic review was conducted, searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and ERIC. The review was conducted according to the PICOTS structure, with an intervention of a surgical boot camp for senior medical students entering surgical residencies. Results The search resulted in 5351 database hits, from which we identified 10 published studies that met the inclusion criteria. Two reviews were identified that met the PICOTS criteria but were excluded from data synthesis. Boot camps increase the confidence and competence of medical students entering their surgical internships. There is no objective assessment of the effect of boot camps on the clinical performance of interns. Conclusions Despite the success of medical school surgical boot camps, no objective data exist to show that boot camps translate into improved performance during internship.
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