Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of ‘hands-on’ laparoscopic skills course.
Methods: A prospective observational study conducted between May 2005 and June 2006. All gynaecologists who attended ‘hands-on’ laparoscopic skills course held over a five-day period were assessed initially and at the end of the intensive course. Subjective assessment involved each attendee self-scoring their own knowledge in laparoscopy in different fields; this was done using visual analog scoring (VAS). Objective assessment was done through multiple choice questions (MCQs) and motor skill tasks. The difference between the performances of each of the candidates at pre- and post-course periods was evaluated using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. P-values < 0.05 represented statistical significance.
Setting: Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery (CARE), Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Results: Twenty-four consecutive gynaecologists have been enrolled in the study – 14 were specialists and ten were obstetrics and gynaecology trainees. Mean age was 44.4 years (range 35–58 years). Pre- and post-course subjective assessment measuring VAS improved significantly for all variables. Objective measurements of pre- and post-course mean MCQ results also improved significantly from 71% to 84.5%, respectively (P-value < 0.0001). There was dramatic improvement in the performing of motor skills in the dry laboratory.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic skills workshops can improve both knowledge base and motor skills. Such courses result in a short-term measurable improvement. Future studies should focus on assessing the impact of such ‘hands-on’ courses to see if these skills are transferred to the operating room.