Despite recent challenges to attaining surgical exposure (e.g. after the introduction of the European Working Time Directive), trainees must keep a meticulous logbook detailing key intra-operative details; indeed, an ‘eLogbook’ service has been established for this purpose. Unfortunately, current provision is aimed at postgraduates. We argue that there are myriad reasons why undergraduates should document operations, and that handwritten logbooks offer an elegant solution. Medical students spend very little time in the operating theatre, so efforts should be made to maximise educational return. Encouraging undergraduates to catalogue their operative experiences introduces essential skills, such as the handwriting of ‘operative notes’ and the concept of diligent record keeping. Importantly, it provides a solid background to underpin future postgraduate portfolios and interviews: demonstrating the pursuit of personal educational improvement and an unparalleled commitment to surgery. Logbook maintenance encourages students to go beyond passively observing in theatre: providing opportunities to reflect on knowledge gained, and how this complements the extant curriculum.
J. Norris, Matthew D. Smith, D. McGowan
The Clinical Teacher