Studentsällskapet för Kirurgi och Anestesi (KirA)
KirA is a surgically and anaesthetic society for medical students. Through KirA, you will enjoy journal clubs, anatomy knowledge, and practical workshops related to surgery or anaesthesiology, sometimes with a global health touch. KirA cooperates with IFMSA Stockholm and Läkarsektionen. Founders are fourth-year medical students Gustaf Drevin and Jakub Olczak. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want to be a surgeon?
KirA - a student society for surgery and anaesthesiology By Jakub Olczak and Gustaf Drevin Photo by Eric Wellme and Gustaf Drevin
The interest for Studentsällskapet för Kirurgi och Anestesi’s first suture workshop was immense - 150 people registered but the organisers could only select 15. Therefore, the spots were slumped using an online generator!
Founders Gustaf Drevin (standing left) and Jakub Olczak (standing right) instructing students in basic minor surgery theory. The workshop participants seemed to really enjoy getting a sneak peek on surgery, in the form of suturing.
Tuesday April 19th, 20 medical students in scrubs took over the clinical practice centrum at Karolinska Hospital Solna, as the newly created Student Society for Surgery and Anaesthesiology (Studentsällskapet för Kirurgi och Anestesi, KirA) held its first ever workshop - a suturing tutorial. We have created KirA to fill a void concerning opportunities for medical students to pursue specific interests already in medical school. From war to robotic surgery The Karolinska Institute was formed for a single purpose: training war surgeons for the 19th century Carolean wars stretching into Prussia, the Ukraine, and far into Russia. They were barbers and craftsmen and their methods urgently crude. Today, surgery and anaesthesiology have developed into complex sciences spanning from advanced practical techniques to modern technology, requiring operators to be skilled, flexible, and updated. No wonder so many medical students are intrigued by surgery and anaesthesiology. Premiere workshop There are hundreds of vibrant surgical student societies. Recently this trend has come to Sweden and now Stockholm, as Lund and Örebro have similar societies. Also known as KirA, our organisation provides medical students opportunities to involve themselves in surgery and anaesthesiology. The suturing workshop on April 19th was the premiere event, where 150 people were interested and ten participants randomly selected. Six older students were present to tutor groups of 2-3 14
beginners. A short lecture was also given to ensure participants has basic theory in minor surgery. Students were taught wound physiology, local anaesthetics, and suture techniques before teaching three sutures. Students seemed very happy. Julia Ekman, a second-year student, says it was “the excitement of learning basic but useful techniques early in my education and to get a foundation for future terms of
medical school” that made her interested. She adds that “the workshop truly whetted my appetite, and I am totally adding ‘suture kit’ to my birthday wish list!” KirA hopes to provide at least five workshops per term to cover the interest for such practice. Student interest The authors have always felt that the interest for different surgical specialties and anaesthesiology and critical or emergency care rank extremely high in the mind-set of medical students, already from an early stage in our education. It made sense for us to then perform a survey of this interest and investigate if the numbers did support our intuition. A whooping 551 medical students at Karolinska Institutet answered, and more than 80% want to engage in some kind of extra-curricular surgical or anaesthetic activity and three-fourths consider surgery or anaesthesiology as future careers. We are happy to cooperate with IFMSA Stockholm and Läkarsektionen in initiating KirA.
Surgical survey A pre-launch survey engaging 551 medical students at the Karolinska Institute showed that despite a huge interest in these specialities, there is a lack of channels for expressing one’s interest or curiosity in surgery or anaesthesiology.
The tutor Lottie Phillips, fourth-year, says she “would have loved to have been given a chance early on to learn some basic surgical techniques from and older student who could say ‘hey, I know it seems far off, but you will be there before you know it.’ Being a tutor for KirA is a way to be that student for somebody else.” The three founding pillars Our main vision is that medical students can pursue their interests in different capacities, in order to establish a full-width and realistic perspective of otherwise indeed over-romanticised specialties. We
have envisaged three founding pillars to guide the society. Firstly, KirA wants to showcase the benefits or doing research by arranging student-adapted journal clubs with some of Sweden’s most prominent researchers in surgery and anaesthesiology. Students of any level can participate and no previous experience or knowledge will be required. Participants can expect to learn how to read scientific articles, get inspiration, and meet researchers. The second pillar is anatomy, which is often forgotten between the anatomical and surgical semesters. This, of course, is a more or less personal experience of the authors... One aim is to create anatomy booklets to complement atlases and lectures. The third and perhaps most attractive feature is our practical approach, where suturing can be complemented with workshops on keeping free airways, robotic surgery, or advanced suturing techniques. This concrete and hands-on approach is what most students want, according to our survey. We are happy to provide this rewarding break in your studies! Anaesthesia and global health Apart from the founding pillars, two additional important elements make up KirA. There has been an unfortunate divide between anaesthesiology and surgery, the
severity of which can depend on country, culture, clinic, and level of care. Many students are palpably positively surprised by the thrill of anaesthesiology. KirA wants students to tap into that underrated potential and be introduced to this enabling feature of modern surgery. The second element is a global focus. Approximately 5 billion people lack access to “safe, affordable, and accessible surgical and anaesthetic care” (WHO, 2015) and global surgery is the “neglected stepchild of global health”. KirA hopes to bridge this divide and emphasise that the international nature of medicine applies also here. The future KirA has been in contact with and received verbal support from the four surgery course directors at the Karolinska Institute. It has been encouraging and given KirA a sense of academic anchorage. We, the authors of this article and founders of KirA, intend to make KirA a standing committee and society for many more medical students to come. One day, we hope to meet younger future colleagues in the corridor, saying they want to become surgeons because they once joined a surgical student society at their university. We hope you want to join us in this vision and promote surgery and anaesthesiology at the Karolinska Institute with us. • 15