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Surg Laparosc Endosc. 1996 Feb;6(1):10-5.

Planning, development, and execution of an international training program in laparoscopic surgery.

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Tufts University School of Medicine/New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.


In the late 1980s, minimally invasive surgery experienced unprecedented growth. Centers appeared worldwide, providing a variety of training opportunities and laboratory experiences. Because standard surgical training varies greatly from country to country, it became apparent that this variety was even more pronounced in the area of minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgery, posing significant credentialling difficulties for professional standards committees wishing to certify surgical staff who submit unevaluable credentials from all over the world. In January 1993, the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at New England Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine was asked to plan and execute a program of education, training, and credentialling for a multispecialty surgical staff in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. A four-stage program was designed and developed to provide credentialling from the technician level through the instructor surgeon level. A multidisciplinary course was developed and a team placed on site for 1 month to execute the program. This program began with an 8-h didactic/video session in basic laparoscopy, covering areas common to the involved subspecialties: surgery, urology, and gynecology. This session was followed by hands-on training sessions in general surgery and urology and credentialling in gynecology. Physicians who successfully completed the examination in basic laparoscopy were later eligible for credentialling at one of three clinical specialty levels: basic clinical laparoscopy, advanced clinical laparoscopy, or instructor in clinical laparoscopy. Education and credentialling in minimally invasive surgery can be accomplished by executing a program of basic science and clinical training for physicians, technicians, and nurses that accommodates a wide range of experience of participants, from novice to master surgeon. Support from the hospital administrators and department chairs was instrumental in the program's success. Among the goals we accomplished was identification of persons in an institution who could serve as future instructors and certifiers for the hospital's self-sustaining program as well as providing a relationship in which international institutions can serve as a resource for further continuing medical education and clinical and laboratory training. This program may well serve as the model template for international credential standards of the future.

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