Background: The European Association of Endoscopic Surgery (EAES) fellowship programme was established in 2014, allowing nine surgeons annually to obtain experience and skills in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) from specialist centres across the Europe and United States. It aligns with the strategic focus of EAES Education and Training Committee on enabling Learning Mobility opportunities. To assess the impact of the programme, a survey was conducted aiming to evaluate the experience and impact of the programme and receive feedback for improvements.
Methods: A survey using a 5-point Likert scale was used to evaluate clinical, education and research experience. The impact on acquisition of new technical skills, change in clinical practice and ongoing collaboration with the host institute was assessed. The fellows selected between 2014 and 2018 were included. Ratings were analysed in percentage; thematic analysis was applied to the free-text feedbacks using qualitative analysis.
Results: All the fellows had good access to observing in operating theatres and 70.6% were able to assist. 91.2% participated in educational activities and 23.5% were able to contribute through teaching. 44.1% participated in research activities and 41.2% became an author/co-author of a publication from the host. 97.1% of fellows stated that their operative competency had increased, 94.3% gained new surgical skills and 85.7% was able to introduce new techniques in their hospitals. 74.29% agreed that the clinical experience led to a change in their practices. The most commonly suggested improvements were setting realistic target in clinical and research areas, increasing fellowship duration, and maximising theatre assisting opportunities. Nevertheless, 100% of fellows would recommend the fellowship to their peers.
Conclusion: EAES fellowship programme has shown a positive impact on acquiring and adopting new MIS techniques. To further refine the programme, an individualised approach should be adopted to set achievable learning objectives in clinical skills, education and research.
- Minimally invasive