Philippine Journal of Surgical Specialties Vol. 77, No. 2, July-December 2022, pp 27-34

The Use of Tropical Fruits for Skills Training in a Neurosurgical Boot Camp

Author(s): Juan Silvestre G. Pascual, MD; Kevin Ivan P. Chan, MD; Mary Angeline U. Hernandez, MD; Edroico B. Brillante, MD; Edmund John B. Cayanong, MD; Llex C. Soriano, MD; Gerardo D. Legaspi, MD, FPCS and Kathleen Joy O. Khu, MD

Objective: Neurosurgical boot camps allow trainees to hone practical skills in a risk-free environment, but the models and simulators used are relatively costly. In developing countries like the Philippines, low-cost alternatives have to be devised. The authors aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of using local, readily available, and inexpensive tropical fruits as surrogate models for basic neurosurgical skills training during a neurosurgical boot camp.

Methods: Locally available tropical fruits were used to teach basic neurosurgical skills to trainees. Coconut, pomelo, and watermelon were used as models for head clamp application, scalp and dural
suturing, and ventriculostomy, respectively. Feedback was obtained from the participants after the boot camp.

Results: All eight residents thought that the boot camp was useful in learning new skills, and that the fruit models served their purpose. The trainees favored the fruit models that catered to the skill sets required according to level of training. The use of tropical fruits in the boot camp also provided an informal atmosphere that was conducive to learning.

Conclusion: The novel use of tropical fruits as surrogate models in basic neurosurgical skills training was a feasible and affordable alternative in resource-limited settings, although the activity was perceived to be more useful to junior than to senior residents. The informal atmosphere generated by the use of the fruits contributed to an improved learning experience for the trainee.

Key words: Teaching, simulation training, surgical skills, low-cost