Two days of all-round learning in urology, from simulation lab to robotic surgery
The ever-increasing availability of minimally invasive surgical techniques and complex robotic ones require urological surgeons to train to a high level. Indeed, the new generations of surgeons need increasingly accurate and practical training for these innovative instruments to minimise the inconveniences, even if minimal, in the operating theatre.
The Specialty School in Urology at Humanitas University organised a theoretical and practical course for all 15 resident doctors. The training is organized in three phases, ongoing from April to June 2022, starting with online tutorials, passing through the Simulation Lab and ending with the actual surgery phase.
“The programme,” explains Professor Nicolò Maria Buffi Director of the School of Specialisation in Urology, “took place over a month and a half, during which the resident doctors, according to their year of specialisation, underwent theoretical and practical training to improve their learning curves and prepare skilled and competent urological surgeons. – This, continues the expert – is a programme that integrates and is conducted in parallel with the ENTRY project (EuropeaN Training in uRology), financed by a three-year European Erasmus fund with Humanitas University as lead partner. The ENTRY project aims to promote innovation in the training of urologists so that they can use the most advanced instruments and at the same time reduce complications. Both projects are important to develop a uniformed training across Europe.
The first phase of the project involved recording some step-by-step tutorials of laparoscopic, endoscopic and robotic surgery simulations which were conducted by experienced urological surgeons and then made available on the e-learning platform for trainees. On 20th and 21st June, the laparoscopic, endourology, percutaneous procedures and robotic surgery simulators were made available at the Simulation Centre of Humanitas University, so that future specialists could practise practically for two days on the various surgical procedures. On 22nd June, the first real practical course took place, and the different procedures were performed on a cadaver. “The real practical test for the trainees was,” explains Professor Buffi, “being able to try all the different surgical procedures on a cadaver, from the simplest such as e.g., circumcision for first-year residents, to complex robotic surgery for fifth-year residents. The doctors in training were always under the supervision of an instrument nurse and a urologist who acted as tutors”.
The practical course was therefore a 360-degree simulation of the different types of urology surgeries during which the residents, according to their year of study, were able to perform real operations thanks to the presence of an expert tutor and an instrumental nurse. “For the School of Specialisation in Urology, this was a very useful and interesting way to test the feasibility and verify the learning outcomes of the resident doctors. The 15 doctors who participated in this course had the opportunity to safely put the surgical techniques into practice. – And Buffi concludes – the workshop confirmed that exploring different learning alternatives, such as Simulation labs borrowed from different fields such as the military or the aviation industry that use simulations for training, allows for improved learning curves also in the medical field, as young urologists can acquire new skills without creating any risk for the patient and in a safe and controlled environment”.