Do workshops improved the technical skill of vascular surgical trainees?
AIMS: Adjuncts to conventional surgical training are needed in order to address the reduction in working hours. This purpose of this study was to objectively assess the efficacy of workshop training on simulators. METHODS: Fifteen consecutive participants of the European Vascular Workshop in 2003 and 2004 were recruited to this study. Participants performed a proximal anastomosis on a commercially available abdominal aortic aneurysm simulator, were then given intensive training on sophisticated models for 3 days and re-assessed. Pre- and post-course procedures were videotaped and independently reviewed by three assessors (tapes were blinded and in random order). The operative end product was similarly assessed. Four measures of technical skill were used: generic skill, procedural skill; a five point technical rating of the anastomosis (assessed using validated rating scales) and procedure time. Non-parametric tests were used in the statistical analysis. RESULTS: The video assessment scores for aneurysm repair increased significantly following completion of the course (p=0.006 and p=0.004 for generic and procedural skill, respectively). End product assessment scores increased significantly post-course (p=0.001) and participants performed aneurysm repair faster following the course (p<0.05). Inter-observer reliability ranged from alpha=0.84-0.98 for the three rating scales pre- and post-course. CONCLUSION: Objective improvements in technical performance follow intensive workshop training. Participants' perform better, faster, and with an improved end product following the course. Such adjuncts to training play an important part in a focused integrated programme that addresses reduced work hours.