Duty hour restrictions, changing training paradigms, and diminishing open surgical case volumes have caused dramatic shifts in the vascular trainee experience, according to Malachi Sheahan, MD, and his colleagues from Louisiana State University, New Orleans.
Dr. Sheahan and his colleagues examined the benefits of simulation courses as an augment to vascular training. They performed a 6-year review of the first simulation course established for vascular trainees in the United States.
The 3-day vascular simulation course studied was conducted at a dedicated learning center from 2012 to 2017. Attendees rated their confidence pre- and postcourse on a 6-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (none) to 6 (expert) across 8 different technical and cognitive categories. Participants were also asked to rate the value of each activity, according to Dr. Sheahan.
Assessments of each trainee were completed by the course director and sent to their program director. After 6 months, program directors and participants were surveyed on the lasting usefulness of the course. Full data were available for 98 vascular trainees: 59 categorized as Junior (PGY1-2); and 39 as Senior (PGY 3).
“Our study demonstrates that a brief, intensive simulation course can have a valuable and lasting impact on vascular resident education,” said Dr. Sheahan.
Overall, the participants rated all teaching activities as useful (4) or better, with anatomic exposures (5.8) and one-on-one suturing (5.5) rated most valuable. Both groups showed significant improvement in confidence in all measures, with Juniors improving significantly more than did Seniors in anastomoses, abdominal aortic aneurysm measurements, and tibial exposures.
Six-month follow-up with program directors found that 100% reported at least one lasting skill improvement and 85% stated that they modified their trainees curriculum based on the course assessment.