EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Gothenburg has the only training environment in Sweden that offers specialist courses for surgeons where skills are practiced using donated corpses. The Surgical Anatomical Training Center (KAT) is run in collaboration with Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Thanks to a major contribution from the Swedish Research Council, an interdisciplinary research project can now begin about this skills training.
For laparoscopic surgery, surgeons have long been able to practice their skills using computer simulation, but there is no digital training for open surgery. These surgical techniques are usually taught through training during actual operations under the supervision of experienced surgeons, where mistakes can pose risks for patients. In addition to patient safety, there are also financial and educational reasons for reviewing how surgical training is conducted.
“With this arrangement, the training depends on the local conditions and available expertise. Training may also take a back seat to clinical work. In addition, the learning situation makes it difficult to evaluate the learning that takes place,” says Oskar Lindwall, associate professor at the Department of Applied Information Technology, the principal applicant for the project.
Although training for open surgery on corpses is common in many other countries, very little educational research has been published on the subject. In this project, researchers with expertise in teaching approaches, medicine and communication studies will study surgical skill training and assessment of surgical expertise in training contexts where donated corpses are used.
“I am very happy to receive this grant since I have been applying for research funding for this subject for 13 years, and it has flown under the radar for so long. This also is very timely, because next year we are organizing the World Congress on Surgical Training here in Gothenburg,” says Margareta Berg, course coordinator for KAT and an orthopedic specialist with a PhD.
The Surgicon Conference (www.surgicon.org), which will take place in Gothenburg on May 5-7, 2021, focuses on scientifically validated surgical training.
Opportunities and limitations
In the project, practical training in different courses at KAT will be documented on video, and the videos will be analyzed later by educational experts and surgeons in collaboration.
“We hope the project will lead to scientifically validated and more effective methods of surgical training, and eventually greater safety, reduced suffering and lower costs for injuries from surgical procedures,” says Berg.
The project has been awarded SEK 5.7 million from the Swedish Research Council’s educational sciences call for applications, as one of six projects at the University of Gothenburg that receive funding from the call.
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM