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Surg Endosc. 2011 Apr;25(4):1136-42. doi: 10.1007/s00464-010-1329-y. Epub 2010 Sep 11.

Development, validation and implementation of a monitoring tool for training in laparoscopic colorectal surgery in the English National Training Program.

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Department of Surgery and Cancer, St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College, Praed St., London W2 1NY, UK.



The National Training Program for laparoscopic colorectal surgery (LCS) provides supervised training to colorectal surgeons in England. The purpose of this study was to create, validate, and implement a method for monitoring training progression in laparoscopic colorectal surgery that met the requirements of a good assessment tool.


A generic scale for different tasks in LCS was created under the guidance of a national expert group. The scores were defined by the extent to which the trainees were dependent on support (1 = unable to perform, 5 = unaided (benchmark), 6 = proficient). Trainers were asked to rate their trainees after each supervised case; trainees completed a similar self-assessment form. Construct validity was evaluated comparing scores of trainees at different experience levels (1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16+) using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test and ANOVA. Internal consistency was determined by Crohnbach's alpha, interrater reliability by comparing peer- and self-assessment (interclass correlation coefficient, ICC). Proficiency gain curves were plotted using CUSUM charts.


Analysis included 610 assessments (333 by trainers and 277 by trainees). There was high interrater reliability (ICC = 0.867), internal consistency (α = 0.920), and construct validity [F(3,40) = 6.128, p < 0.001]. Detailed analysis of proficiency gain curves demonstrates that theater setup, exposure, and anastomosis were performed independently after 5 to 15 sessions, and the dissection of the vascular pedicle took 24 cases. Mobilization of the colon and of the splenic/hepatic flexure took more than 25 procedures. Median assessment time was 3.3 (interquartile range (IQR) 1-5) minutes and the tool was accepted as useful [median score 5 of 6 (IQR 4-5)].


A valid and reliable monitoring tool for surgical training has been implemented successfully into the National Training Program. It provides a description of an individualized proficiency gain curve in terms of both the level of support required and the competency level achieved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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