Hernia surgery has undergone rapid development in the past decades. The ever greater array of surgical techniques and materials together with the demand for individualized treatment concepts thus present a special challenge not only to qualified surgeons but also when devising education programs for trainee surgeons. To that effect, continuing education and training concepts must be reviewed and possibly new concepts formulated. This study now reports on the findings from a survey on continuing education and training in hernia surgery, while presenting and evaluating the existing concepts.
Materials and Methods
In 2014 the German Hernia Society (DHG) in cooperation with the Federal Association of German Surgeons (BDC) conducted a broad-based online survey among surgeons on the future of continuing education in hernia surgery. Since 2011 basic courses in hernia surgery have been in place in Germany, and since 2014 in Austria too. In the meantime, further Hernia School levels have also been introduced. We compared the learning effects identified for participants of the two Hernia compact courses in Salzburg in 2014 and 2016. Besides, special questionnaires were designed to explore new and topical issues.
In total, 1296 surgeons in Germany took part in the BDC / DHG online survey on the future of continuing education in hernia surgery. The vast majority (more than 80%) of respondents deemed the establishment of a systematic, step-by-step and structured continuing education program to be useful or very useful. Evaluation of the basic training courses already conducted revealed that both the theoretical knowledge and practical experience of participants improved thanks to these courses.
From the perspective of surgeons there is an urgent need for a systematic, structured and step-by-step concept for continuing education hernia surgery. This should include, in addition to theoretical and practical aspects, eLearning, video tutorials, and simulation models. Since to date there is a lack of empirical data, continuous evaluation of the training courses is an important component for further development of such courses. This can markedly enhance the theoretical knowledge and practical experience of participants. Besides, systematic survey of participants helps to continuously tailor the curriculum to future needs.