gms | German Medical Science

5th International Conference for Research in Medical Education

15.03. - 17.03.2017, Düsseldorf

Students' perception of the educational environment in the operating theatre: development and psychometric evaluation of a questionnaire

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Chantal Rabe - Institute of Medical Teaching and Medical Education Research, Wuerzburg, Germany
  • Joy Backhaus - Institute of Medical Teaching and Medical Education Research, Wuerzburg, Germany
  • Peter Jo - Department of General, Visceral and Paediatric Surgery, University Medical Centre, Goettingen, Germany
  • Sarah Koenig - Institute of Medical Teaching and Medical Education Research, Wuerzburg, Germany

5th International Conference for Research in Medical Education (RIME 2017). Düsseldorf, 15.-17.03.2017. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2017. DocO13

doi: 10.3205/17rime13, urn:nbn:de:0183-17rime138

Published: March 7, 2017

© 2017 Rabe et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Introduction: The educational experience in the operating theatre (OT) is considered as one of the crucial elements affecting a medical student's satisfaction with workplace-based training in surgery. Based on the Surgical Theatre Educational Environmental Measure (STEEM) [1], we developed a new questionnaire to evaluate the perception of atmosphere and student integration into the workplace.

Materials & methods: The 29-item inventory was distributed to all medical students enrolled in a one-week rotation in surgery at the University Medical Center in Goettingen, Germany. All students assisted regularly in the OT, albeit on a voluntary basis. Psychometric properties of the questionnaire were evaluated conducting a maximum likelihood explorative factor analysis.

Results: Of the 143 students registered, 100 (70%) completed the questionnaire. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy for the 29-item scale was very good (.88), Bartlett's test of sphericity was significant (χ2=1330.47, df=406, p<.001). Three main factors were identified that explained 54% of variance (λ1=38.17%; λ2=9.80; λ3=.82%). The scales described "learning support and inclusion" (9 items, α=.91), "workplace atmosphere" (5 items, α=.87) and "emotional experience" (5 items, α=.82). To prevent response bias, each scale consisted of a negatively worded item, standardized z-scores were suggested as weighting factors. No significant differences were identified for student characteristics in relation to the scales.

Scale scores for "emotional experience" were rated more positively for students planning their advanced training in a surgical (M=4.37, SD=.54) as opposed to conservative discipline (M=3.78, SD=.79); t(91)=3.65 p=.001).

Conclusion: We have developed a valid, reliable, and feasible tool with three overarching dimensions to evaluate the educational environment in OT. This tool appears to have the potential to ease the difficult task of optimizing student training in surgery with respect to their personal impressions and experience.


Nagraj S, Wall D, Jones E. Can STEEM be used to measure the educational environment within the operating theatre for undergraduate medical students? Med Teach. 2006;28(7):642-647. DOI: 10.1080/01421590600922875 External link