Evaluating the Implementation of a Medical Student’s Handoff Curriculum During the Surgery Clerkship

Published:November 01, 2022DOI:



      Early introduction to essential communication skills is important. We sought to determine if a handoff curriculum (HC) would improve confidence, decrease anxiety, and increase participation in clinical handoffs during the surgical clerkship.


      A multi-center prospective cohort study was performed at two medical schools. Training in the intervention group (HC) consisted of a didactic lecture, video review, and practice session. Students completed a pre-clerkship knowledge test and confidence/anxiety/handoff experience questionnaire pre- and post-clerkship.


      There were no significant differences in pre-clerkship handoff experiences between institutions except having previously witnessed a verbal handoff (School A 96.4% versus School B 76.2%, P = 0.01). While there were no significant differences in post-clerkship confidence or anxiety, HC students were significantly more involved with written sign-outs (52.9% versus 18.2%, P = 0.02) and verbal handoffs (29.4% versus 4.6%, P = 0.03).


      Medical students exposed to handoff training shared similar confidence and anxiety scores compared to those that were not, however, they were more involved in handoff experiences during their surgical clerkship. Early introduction to handoff skills may encourage greater participation during subsequent clinical experiences.


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