Tag Archive for: assessment


Article of the week: Centralized simulation training combines technical and non-technical skills

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Development and implementation of centralized simulation training: evaluation of feasibility, acceptability and construct validity

Mohammad Shamim Khan, Kamran Ahmed, Andrea Gavazzi, Rishma Gohil, Libby Thomas*, Johan Poulsen, Munir Ahmed, Peter Jaye* and Prokar Dasgupta

MRC Centre for Transplantation, King’s College London, King’s Health Partners, Department of Urology, Guy’s Hospital , *Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centre, Guy’s & St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust , and Department of Urology, Aalborg Denmark and King’s College Hospital, London, UK


• To establish the feasibility and acceptability of a centralized, simulation-based training-programme.

• Simulation is increasingly establishing its role in urological training, with two areas that are relevant to urologists: (i) technical skills and (ii) non-technical skills.


• For this London Deanery supported pilot Simulation and Technology enhanced Learning Initiative (STeLI) project, we developed a structured multimodal simulation training programme.

• The programme incorporated: (i) technical skills training using virtual-reality simulators (Uro-mentor and Perc-mentor [Symbionix, Cleveland, OH, USA] , Procedicus MIST-Nephrectomy [Mentice, Gothenburg, Sweden] and SEP Robotic simulator [Sim Surgery, Oslo, Norway]); bench-top models (synthetic models for cystocopy, transurethral resection of the prostate, transurethral resection of bladder tumour, ureteroscopy); and a European (Aalborg, Denmark) wet-lab training facility; as well as (ii) non-technical skills/crisis resource management (CRM), using SimMan (Laerdal Medical Ltd, Orpington, UK) to teach team-working, decision-making and communication skills.

• The feasibility, acceptability and construct validity of these training modules were assessed using validated questionnaires, as well as global and procedure/task-specific rating scales.


• In total 33, three specialist registrars of different grades and five urological nurses participated in the present study.

• Construct-validity between junior and senior trainees was signifi cant. Of the participants, 90% rated the training models as being realistic and easy to use.

• In total 95% of the participants recommended the use of simulation during surgical training, 95% approved the format of the teaching by the faculty and 90% rated the sessions as well organized.

• A significant number of trainees (60%) would like to have easy access to a simulation facility to allow more practice and enhancement of their skills.


• A centralized simulation programme that provides training in both technical and non-technical skills is feasible.

• It is expected to improve the performance of future surgeons in a simulated environment and thus improve patient safety.


Read Previous Articles of the Week

Editorial: The need to devise a better means of training

There is increasing concern that current UK trainees at the end of their training are less experienced than their previous counterparts and continue to require more education, skills and support when they assume their consultant posts in the form of mentoring.

It is generally accepted that the numbers of hours required to become an ‘expert’ is 10 000–30 000 and currently in the UK our trainees experience =6000 h of training. Much of this is due to the impact of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and the government ‘New Deal’ initiative on junior doctors contracts introduced in 2003. The UK conundrum shared with many other healthcare systems is how to provide effective training within the demands of service commitment and the EWTD. Skills training has therefore been seen as the mechanism to resolve the situation, encompassing the acquisition of both technical and non-technical skills. The challenge therefore is to devise innovative ways of training within the limit of fewer hours and training, not service, must become the priority for trainees and for those surgeons, departments and hospitals that train them.

Contemporary urology training is moving out of clinical practice and simulation is increasingly used to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for learning and maintaining skills. However, this needs the following criteria:

• An agreed curriculum

• Agreed set of standards

• A validated form of assessment

• The availability of local and national skills centres

• Educators and trainers

The problem is that traditionally the UK has few training centres, together with a lack of trained manpower and funding. However, controversy still remains over the efficacy of simulation for training and those who are able to fund such projects comment on the paucity of available data in relation to the predictability of future outcomes and patient safety.

Projects such as the Simulation and Technology enhanced Learning Initiative (STeLI) initiative documented in this paper are important contributors to the evidence base. The programme aims to establish the feasibility and acceptability of a centralised, simulation-based system incorporating both skills and non-technical skills aspects of training. The latter involving crisis resource management using the SimMan model to teach team-working, decision-making, and communication skills in various settings between senior and junior trainees. Not surprisingly senior trainees scored significantly better on virtual reality simulators, bench-top box trainers and the European wet-lab training facility, as well as in human patient simulation training in crisis resource management (CRM) using SimMan, than junior trainees. The interesting point raised in this paper is that the trainees’ behaviour shows the value of inclusion of the CRM training and the interplay between technical and non-technical skills. Non-technical skills have often been sidelined in courses focusing on technical skills acquisition and this paper highlights the importance and added-value of incorporating such a skill set into future course content and curricula.

Thus, there is no doubt that some surgical skills can be learned in the laboratory and although this will never be a substitute for operative experience, the first steps of training can be accelerated with potential reduction of risk to patients. Increasingly data from sources such as the STeLI project underline a better appreciation of the importance of the training in non-technical skills, which equip surgeons in working under stress and more importantly working as a team player. However, the ultimate test for simulation is whether the model and content is able to reduce surgical errors, improve patient safety and reduce operative time and costs. To try and answer these questions BAUS in conjunction with the Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) in Urology have recognised that the technology is there but there is a need to identify trainers keen to train, with the nomination of a national lead for simulation to develop a national strategy to deliver a viable programme aligned to the curriculum to try and answer the important question: ‘Does simulation enhance real-life performance of a surgical technique?’.

Adrian D. Joyce
St James’ University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK

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