coverRon MopUnderstanding Surgery

CD Rom

by the Concept Consortium

Personal Review by Rod Ward 8.10.99

This is the first of a series of Educational CDs to help staff in the peri-operative field learn more about aspects of surgery. This CD focuses on biliary surgery, others to follow include upper abdominal surgery, lower abdominal surgery, proctology and breast surgery. All of the series use a common interface, screen design and navigation so that once a user is familiar with one of the series they will have no difficulty using the others.

The project team includes 2 experienced operating theatre nurses and an educational technologist and was supported by the Teaching and Learning Technology Project (TLTP) Phase 3.


The programme loaded easily from the CD


The first screen offers a short tutorial about using a computer which helps novices to use the mouse, buttons, clicking & how to load the CD, with some interactive components to ensure users have grasped these basic concepts.

There is also a tutorial available about the CD. This offers help to the user in understanding the navigation buttons used in the program, and lots of "twiddly bits" including time & sound functions & the ability to set an alarm if you need to finish using the CD at a particular time, glossary, shortcuts and film clips.


The CD is divided into 6 sections; anatomy, the patient, operations, alternatives, assessment and index as shown in Figure 1

Figure 1- Screen shot of sections
Figure 1 - screenshot


The relevant anatomy is presented in clear diagrams with an animation providing labels and short descriptions of the functions of the parts. The production, uses and constituents of bile are briefly explained.

The Patient

Figure 2 - Screen shot - the patient
The patient section offers 5 patient scenarios, which the user can explore looking at; What's up, the medical view, tests, results and what's next.


The operations covered are: open cholycystectomy, laproscopic cholycystectomy, resection of cholangiocarcinoma, biliary bypass, whipples procedure, and pancreatic pseudocyst. Each is illustrated with reasons for surgery, positioning, anaesthetic, operation details (with clear line diagrams) and complications. Some are supported by other resources such as film of a cholangiogram. The crack the code button explains the title of the procedure.


Provides information about the various alternatives to surgical intervention, these are supported by short quizzes for the user.


Assessment is at 3 levels; multichoice, essay questions and project assignments.
The 30 multichoice questions provide a feedback score at the end and an opportunity to retake incorrect answers to improve the users score.

The Essay questions ask the user to select a patient and write about various aspects of their care.

The projects ask the user to look at the program and apply this to their work area with suggestions of ; pain management, laproscopic safety, complications and skin integrity. Each includes suggestions of topic areas to be investigated.

The Index

This provides the opportunity for the user to go to any topic on the CD by clicking on the first letter. The topics available then link to the glossary and the relevant section of the CD.

Other functions

A key topics button is available throughout the program which enables the user to quickly find out about; anaesthetic, pain management, positioning, complications and laparoscopy. For example clicking on anaesthetics links to; types, patient medication and monitoring. The patient section includes: Pre-operative and risk assessment, investigations, which anaesthetic and postponing surgery. These are supported by suitable illustrations eg animated ECGs in the anaesthetic section.

There is also a comprehensive glossary. Words or abbreviations included are shown in green and clicking on them provides a short description or explanation at the bottom of the screen.

References are available at frequent points which give details of relevant publications linked to the topic on screen at any time. They are also marked by a book symbol next to specific areas of text.

The "my progress" button gives a map of major topics and indicates those which have been visited by the user - this is customisable by the addition of the users name, however it did not appear to be possible for users to carry forward their progress (or previous assessments) from one session of using the CD to another.

Throughout the program an animated character in theatre greens appears to help the user. This could become annoying after a while but does help to introduce humour into the learning.


This is an extremely well produced CD which makes navigation and learning easy for the user blending text with animation to provide a good insight into biliary surgery.

Appropriate colour schemes and screen designs provide a pleasant experience, although the transition between the screens for different sections was sometimes a little slow (this will presumably depend on the specification of the computer being used.

The material could provide a useful introduction for preregistration nursing students, but there is enough depth of content for those undertaking specialist education and in-service training. I would also feel that this would be suitable for Operating Department Assistants and other theatre staff, as well as any health professional working in perioperative surgical areas.

System Requirements:

P100 with 16 Mb RAM
Screen resolution: millions of colours
Sound card preferred
25 Mb Hard Disk Space
Documentation says will run on Win 3.1 , Win 95 & NT - although it was reviewed on a Win 95 machine with higher specifications than those required.


Biliary £35
Upper Abdominal £35
Lower Abdominal £35 (available Dec 1999)
Proctology £35 (available Feb 2000)
Breast £35 (available May 2000)
Set of 5 titles £150
Networked versions for intranet use are available

Contact details for the Concept project

Martin Plura, Sue Dakin & Mike Garner
Operating Services Directorate
Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Sheffield S10 2JF
Tel: 0114 271 3888
Fax: 0114 271 3759

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Page Created: 8.10.99
Last Updated: 3.9.03