COVER: A Curriculum in the Management of Soft Tissue Injury and Infection for Junior Surgery Residents

Emily J. Onufer, Erin G. Andrade, Angelia DeClue, Grant Bochicchio, Paul Wise, Mary E. Klingensmith, Stephen Eaton, John Kirby, L. J. Punch

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Background While wound management is a common task for practicing surgeons, there is a paucity of dedicated education on soft tissue management during residency training. Objective The COVER (Causes of soft tissue injury, Obstacles to closure, Vacuums and stitches, Epithelialization, Rationale for wound care) curriculum was developed to engage junior surgery residents in the management of soft tissue injury and infection. Methods Junior surgery residents participated in the COVER lab during academic years 2018–2020. Residents applied appropriate surgical management and wound care to cadaveric models of soft tissue injury and infection. Assessments included a pre-/post-curriculum and pre-/post-lab multiple choice questionnaire and survey. Results All eligible residents (n = 45, 27) participated in the COVER lab for both academic years. Postgraduate year (PGY)-1s, PGY-2s, and PGY-3s showed improvement in wound management knowledge with an average increase in score of 17%, 8%, and 18%, respectively. They also showed a change in their self-reported perceived ability to achieve primary soft tissue closure with confidence levels 22%, 20%, and 16%, respectively. This was again seen in perceived ability to manage soft tissue injuries and infections (28%, 28%, and 23%, respectively). There was a significant increase in performing new wound management skills (PGY-1 mean 51.3%, PGY-2 33.5%, PGY-3 20%; ANOVA, P =.0001). Conclusions The COVER curriculum provides a systematic approach to soft tissue injury and infection. Residents showed a significant increase in both soft tissue knowledge as well as confidence in ability to perform wound management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of graduate medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


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