With the aim of improving students' ability to handle the complexity of surgery, we introduced a creative assignment in a veterinary surgical course.We hypothesized that by using this active, inductive educational method, reflection, creativity and self-efficacy in student novice surgeons could be improved. During a companion animal surgical course an intervention group was investigated against a control group. Twenty-nine fourth-year students were instructed in ovariohysterectomy by classical lectures, while 23 fourth-year students were provided with creative materials and assigned to consider and illustrate how to perform the procedure themselves. Surgical performance was assessed for both groups using a modified Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (OSATS) while performing a simulated ovariohysterectomy. Furthermore, both groups were investigated with respect to how they would handle a specific hypothetical surgical complication. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 intervention-group students and were analyzed using thematic analysis.The intervention group showed a significantly better performance and needed significantly less help with the surgical complication than the control group students. Data from interviews furthermore demonstrated that students believed the creative intervention produced increased reflection, more creative initiatives, and a feeling of security before surgery. Our study results thus indicate that an educational tool which stimulates creative thinking can promote reflection, creativity, and self-efficacy in novice surgeons without compromising surgical performance.