During residency, trainees at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis participate in a high volume of minimally invasive surgical cases, gaining valuable experience in the growing fields of laparoscopic and robotic surgery. Before entering the operating room, surgical residents receive state-of-the-art training in minimally invasive surgery at the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education (WISE). Each summer, incoming interns and PGY-2 general surgery residents participate in laparoscopic and suturing skills courses in the WISE Center.
“The purpose of this training is to provide experience outside of the OR,” says General Surgery Residency Program Director Paul Wise, MD. “In the operating room, the patient is always our top priority. In the WISE Center, residents can focus on acquiring skills and learning techniques.”
The WISE Center is an American College of Surgeons (ACS) Accredited Education Institute (AEI) with a broad curriculum that includes use of endoscopy and laparoscopic simulators, training in surgical techniques and instrumentation, cadaver dissection, instruction in emergent procedures and preparation for performing specific surgical procedures. The WISE Center was one of the first surgical skills labs in the country established to serve a general surgery residency program. In addition to general surgery residents, the WISE Center provides training to practicing surgeons, physicians from other disciplines, residents from other disciplines, medical students, allied health professionals and nurses.
Fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) training sessions are taught by program directors, surgical faculty, fellows and senior residents.
“Leading this training is an excellent opportunity to gain teaching experience as a fellow while also honing my laparoscopic skills,” says Thoi Ngo, MD. Surgical Critical Care fellows Ngo and Jordan Kirsch, DO, recently led a laparoscopic training session alongside Wise.
Residents also participate in training labs prior to the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (OSATS). OSATS grades a surgeon’s overall technical proficiency in surgical skills. WISE ACS-AEI Education Fellow Britta Han, MD, MSEd, and lab resident Cameron Casson, MD, led labs this summer practicing laparoscopic and suturing skills tested by OSATS.
“We are leading surgical education in an exciting direction,” says Director of WISE Michael Awad, MD, PhD, who was recently inducted to the ACS Academy of Master Surgeon Educators. “The way we teach the next generation of surgeons is intentional, and simulation has a clear role in that education.”