Video games don’t just help students relax. A new study by a medical student at the University of Ottawa, Canada, has shown that they can help teach surgical skills.
Arnav Gupta, a third-year medical student, takes a break from a heavy workload by playing Legend of Zelda. However, it may help improve his surgical skills. Gupta and a team of researchers at the University of Toronto reached these conclusions in an article they recently published in the medical journal Surgery.
“Given the limited availability of simulators and the high availability of video games, video games can help surgeon students. In laparoscopic surgery, video game training has improved the accuracy of the surgeons’ movements, ”explains Gupta, who has been playing since he was 8 years old.
This study is the first to focus on a specific group of medical students, namely surgeons. Their work has shown that some of the most rewarding games for students learning robotic surgery and laparoscopy are Super Monkey Ball, Half Life, Rocket League, and Underground. Underground is specifically designed to help medical students learn robotic surgery using a game console.
“While video games can never replace the value of personal experience, they do serve as an additional learning tool, especially when trying to replicate the characteristic movements of surgery. For example, first-person shooting games require you to translate 3D movements onto a 2D screen that is similar to the concept of laparoscopic surgery, ”concludes Gupta, whose research focuses on surgery in ophthalmology, making games like Resident Evil 4 or Trauma Center: New Blood suited to his own ambitions.