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Medical student interest in critical care surgery has fallen since the 1980s, but shadowing surgeons on a busy night bolstered enthusiasm in a small group, researchers found.

Greater interest in pursuing a surgical match was reported by medical students after shadowing general and trauma surgeons for at least one night in an urban, level one trauma center (P<0.005). Compared with only 22 percent of the previous year's graduating class, 40 percent of participants from the shadowing program expressed intent to pursue a surgical match, according to Elliott R. Haut, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, and colleagues.

"Increasing student interest in trauma surgery is possible through voluntary participation in trauma shadowing experience with engaged residents and dedicated surgical faculty," Haut and colleagues wrote online in JAMA Surgery.

The researchers cited recent data, which suggested that by the third-year clerkship it may be too late in the medical school process to draw attention towards a surgical specialty.

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