Last weekend, The Urology Foundation held the Specialist Registrar in Urology Consultant Education (SpRUCE) course in Birmingham. It was spread over 2 days with a networking dinner held in the evening. The course fills a significant void in higher surgical training – that which involves high quality training in interview and communication skills.
In the evening, we were joined by a faculty of senior urologists and professors and were able to network with them over dinner and drinks in a relaxed and informal way. We had an inspiring after dinner speech from BAUS vice-president, Mark Speakman, who stressed the importance of making the most of the connections we make with other urologists. He pointed out that this was not only good for personal career development, but also for patient care. Unlike communication skills trainers I have met in the past, Anna Raine and Jonathan Lermit kept the audience of 22 SpRs captivated throughout the course. They used several techniques to expose where our communication skills were deficient and then introduced us to techniques to improve them. After teaching us about the differences between making a good and an excellent first impression, we moved on to communication styles in interview scenarios. The sessions were highly interactive and our trainers involved the entire group.
The second day was more or less devoted to mock consultant interviews by a panel of urologists and nurses. This was the real highlight of the course. We were split into 4 small groups and each of us was interviewed for approximately 20 minutes. We got a realistic idea of what questions were actually asked in consultant interviews and received detailed feedback from the panel. This was invaluable as it gave a real insight into how others perceived our performance. The interviews were also filmed and we were given the discs to take home and review.
The Urology Foundation provided this course to us for free and it is an excellent example of the good work this charity does in fostering trainees. We all left having learnt a great deal about ourselves and each other and the small size of the group meant we were able to make new friends from all over the UK. I can thoroughly recommend the course to senior trainees and hope TUF continue to run SpRUCE in the future.
Ravi Barod has completed his urological training in London and is about to start a robotic surgery fellowship in the USA. @RaviBarodUrol