Developing a National, Simulation-Based, Surgical Skills Bootcamp in General Thoracic Surgery
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BACKGROUND: The use surgical simulation across all subspecialties has gained widespread adoption in the last decade. A number of factors, including the small number of trainees, identified gaps in surgical skill training from cross-sectional surveys, increased national collaboration, and support from the national specialty committee identified a need to construct a surgical skills "bootcamp" in thoracic surgery in Canada. OBJECTIVE: The goals of the surgical skills bootcamp, as identified by the residency training program directors and the national specialty committee were to create a national, centralized, simulation-based skills workshop that focused on key foundational procedures within thoracic surgery, particularly those identified as areas of weakness by former residents; to smooth the transition to intraoperative teaching; to provide exposure to important but not necessarily universally available procedures such as advanced endoscopy; to teach non-medical expert competencies, and lastly to provide a venue for networking for residents across the country. DESIGN: The curriculum committee has constructed a 3.5 day curriculum, with a focus on hands-on skills simulation, as well as lectures, on a breadth of topics including benign esophageal disorders, lung cancer staging, minimally invasive lung surgery, crisis management and advanced bronchoscopy and endoscopy. All residents across the country attend as well as faculty from a variety of institutions. SETTING: The course is hosted centrally at the University of Toronto, Ontario over 3.5 days. A combination of auditorium and both animal and human operating room facilities are utilized. METHODS: A needs-assessment based on a formal meeting of the program directors, as well feedback from surveys identified the target areas for curriculum development. A committee of interested faculty developed the content as well as the local construct and logistics required. Iterative feedback has evolved the duration and content over the initial 3 years. RESULTS: Through formal resident feedback, national subspecialty committee review, and program director meetings the support for the bootcamp has been overwhelmingly positive. Specific resident feedback for structure, content and specific simulations has been favorable, but has also been used to modify the program. CONCLUSION: In response to identified weaknesses in training, with the support of the national specialty committee, the residency program directors, and the faculty at the University of Toronto, an intensive simulation based thoracic surgery bootcamp has successfully been created for Canadian thoracic surgery residents.
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