What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?
The role of surgical simulators is currently being debated in urological and other surgical specialties. Simulators are not presently implemented in the UK urology training curriculum. The availability of simulators and the opinions of Training Programme Directors' (TPD) on their role have not been described.
In the present questionnaire-based survey, the trainees of most, but not all, UK TPDs had access to laparoscopic simulators, and that all responding TPDs thought that simulators improved laparoscopic training. We hope that the present study will be a positive step towards making an agreement to formally introduce simulators into the UK urology training curriculum.
To discuss the current situation on the use of simulators in surgical training. To determine the views of UK Urology Training Programme Directors (TPDs) on the availability and use of simulators in Urology at present, and to discuss the role that simulators may have in future training. An online-questionnaire survey was distributed to all UK Urology TPDs. In all, 16 of 21 TPDs responded. All 16 thought that laparoscopic simulators improved the quality of laparoscopic training. The trainees of 13 TPDs had access to a laparoscopic simulator (either in their own hospital or another hospital in the deanery). Most TPDs thought that trainees should use simulators in their free time, in quiet time during work hours, or in teaching sessions (rather than incorporated into the weekly timetable). We feel that the current apprentice-style method of training in urological surgery is out-dated. We think that all TPDs and trainees should have access to a simulator, and that a formal competency based simulation training programme should be incorporated into the urology training curriculum, with trainees reaching a minimum proficiency on a simulator before undertaking surgical procedures.