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Winners announced of FST/ASME research grants

2 August 2016

The Faculty of Surgical Trainers is to support research projects aiming to further surgical education and training.

Craig Mcllhenny, Surgical Director of FST and consultant urological surgeon in NHS Forth Valley, says: "FST believes that quality research into education and training is vital and this award, in collaboration with ASME, marks a significant step for the faculty in supporting this type of study. The number and quality of applications for this inaugural educational research grant far surpassed our expectations. It has been fantastic to collaborate with ASME on this award and I look forward to seeing the winners present their work at future FST and ASME conferences."

The first project is due to report on its findings in spring 2017 and will explore clinical decision making amongst surgical trainees in a simulated environment. Project lead, Mr Paul Sutton, Specialty Registrar and Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool, said: "Clinical decision making is a relatively poorly understood non-technical skill, but one which is essential to surgeons both in and out of the operating theatre. We have planned an exploratory pilot study to help better understand clinical decision making in an acute clinical setting, specifically the assessment and management of the critically ill surgical patient. The study utilises a simulated scenario, after which the participant watches the video with the investigator and the performance is evaluated using teach-back interviewing. The transcripts of these interviews will be thematically analysed using standardised techniques to explore behaviourism with respect to decision making."

The second project is led by Mr Sotiris Papaspyros, an ST7 cardiothoracic trainee in Edinburgh, and is scheduled to conclude in autumn 2017. It addresses the reliability of low fidelity simulation models in the acquisition of basic surgical skills outside the operating room. Mr Papaspyros explains: "Surgical training has evolved to conform with several limitations: a shorter working-week for residents, increasing complexity of cases, and an emphasis on operating room efficiency and mitigation of medical errors. Acquisition of basic surgical skills can take place outside the operating room on low-fidelity, readily available simulation materials such as bananas, potatoes, and poached eggs. Deliberate practise can provide the educational framework to achieve competence in surgical tasks. We aim to provide evidence that low-fidelity simulation models and deliberate practise can, reliably and consistently, be used to teach novice aspiring surgeons basic surgical skills outside the operating room."

The projects are being funded jointly by the FST and the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) to promote improvements in surgical training. The grants, available annually for up to £3,000, can be used to support either a research study or evaluation of a teaching innovation in any field of surgical education and training.

Both recipients of the grants will be invited to present their work at the FST Annual Conference 2017 and the ASME Conference.

Applications for next round of grants will open in the forthcoming weeks, with a closing date of 18 May 2017.

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