Playful contest for saving real lives – the first Pécs Skill Race closed with great success

15 November 2023

The first Skill Race game contest was organised in Pécs with a wish to create a tradition. The event took place on 27 and 28 October, and teams from Hungarian medical and dentistry universities competed based on their practical knowledge. The two-day contest was won by the students of the University


written by Miklós Stemler


Drawing blood, inserting an infusion set, conducting child deliveries, treating trauma injuries, intubating, tumour screening, optometry scans, tooth fillings and reparation – only some of the tasks that the medical and dentistry students from the University of Debrecen, the University of Pécs, Semmelweis University and the University of Szeged had to compete in during the Skill Race contest organised by the University of Pécs Medical School, Medical Skills Education and Innovation Centre.

Although the 100 participants demonstrated their knowledge in a playful contest, in a few years they will be doing the same out in the world, saving lives.

As dr. Szilárd Rendeki, director of the Medical Skills Education and Innovation Centre and one of the minds behind the contest has explained, the idea of the contest is entirely unique in Hungary.

“We had the traditional Medical Cup in mind, where students from the national medical schools compete in various sports. We started to think, what if we organise something similar but the teams would compete with their medical skills? We were aiming to allow medical and dentistry students to show and develop their practical skills in a playful way.”

One has to get form idea to implementation though, and here the merger of the former Surgery Education and Research Institute, the MediSkills Lab and the Department for Operational Medicine into the Medical Skills Education and Innovation Centre played a key role; the centre has both the necessary infrastructure and professional staff for the task.

Since the knowledge level of students in different year is highly varied, the organisers made sure to have a task for every skill level at every station, from second year students just starting their practical classes to sixth years almost at their graduation.

The jury was made up of university professors, frontline doctors of patient care, and members of the National Ambulance Service. They made sure that everything was done with the highest level of professional care, and that participants could learn from their possible mistakes and not repeat them later on. The contest also had a science section, where educators and researchers from the four universities shared their experiences about the development of practical medical and dentistry training.

The first Skill Race was won by the students of the University of Debrecen, with their teams Error 404 and GolDEn Standard in both general medicine and dentistry. The excitement of the contest is shown that there was on 1.5% difference between the results of the first three teams in general medicine, and for dentistry, there was 30 points between the first two teams, both with over 1400 points.

The winning Debrecen team showed that they were ultimately here for participation, and winning was just an added bones.

“We did not come here to win, we just wanted to have a food time, and compete to the best of our abilities” – said Zalán Barta, leader of the team. However, this does not mean that they did not take the first Skill Race seriously.

“We organised thematic practices according to skill groups, and we prepared with the help of professors working in those fields. We tried to practice on every model and simulator used in the contest. Working as a team even during the preparations really meant a lot, we were even talking through tasks the night before the contest.”

As for the goal of the Debrecen team – having a good time -, they definitely achieved that, according to Zalán Barta.

“The whole event was really enjoyable, the atmosphere was good and we had fun regardless of our results.”

Annabella Vivien Greutter, member of the third place Pécs team, emphasized the community building power of the contest.

“We have gained a lot of experience in the past two months, but aside from that and knowledge, we got to know valuable people as well. The preparation was spent in high spirits, and so was the contest itself. It was good that this was a team contest, so we stressed less and we could cheer each other on during their tasks.”

Aside from new friendships and useful future connection, participants could develop their practical skills during preparation for the contest.

“If we wanted to practice something, we could do that whenever. Doctors helped us prepare for the tasks. I can confidently say, that we really became a team and gained knowledge that we could have otherwise only gained in multiple years, or not at all.”

Based on the success, the organisers are already planning next year’s Skill Race.

“The feedback was unanimously positive from participants, so we definitely want to continue with the event” – said Péter Maróti, vice director of the Medical Skills Education and Innovation Centre.

“Right now, we are evaluating feedback, and then we will be able to say more about how and when the next Skill Race will be organised, and how we can make it even more entertaining and educational.”

So it seems that students from Pécs and Szeged will have another opportunity to win in future Skill Race contests, while in reality, everyone is a winner: the participating future doctors, dentists, and their future employers, and most importantly, their future patients.


Kerekes Fotó & Film Kft.

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