The practical aspects of operative and perioperative specialties are often underrepresented in preclinical medical and nursing school curricula. Students must narrow down career choices early during the course of their education, which can be difficult in the absence of adequate exposure. A 5-day training programme was developed at our institution to allow students in both medicine and nursing to learn crucial operating room (OR) principles and skills in a structured, interprofessional setting. The week culminates in an interdisciplinary team-based management of a patient using various forms of simulation. Seventy (70) students participated in the 2012 offering of the programme. A course evaluation survey revealed an overwhelmingly positive response, with many students highlighting the significant practical benefits of the experience. An analysis of pre- and post-course responses revealed that students perceived an improvement in their technical ability (P < 0.001, effect size >0.5), comfort level within the OR environment (P < 0.001, effect size >0.5) and a greater sense of preparedness for surgical clerkship/clinical encounters (P < 0.001, effect size >0.5). Nursing and medical students also noted an enhanced understanding of each other’s roles in the OR and reported an increased interest in pursuing a career with a strong technical/hands-on focus (P = 0.014, effect size = 0.34). Students with an interest in OR specialties may benefit from an early interactive exposure to these fields. Mentor-guided simulated experiences can allow for students to better define their potential career interests in operative and perioperative specialties in a timely fashion.