The second outing for an undergraduate surgical skills conference has attracted students from across the UK
On 19 May 2012, the second annual Northern Surgical Skills Conference took place in association with the Northumbrian Upper Gastro Intestinal Team of Surgeons. Fifty medical students attended the conference at the Northern Skills Institute, Hexham General Hospital. This included a contingent from medical schools other than Newcastle, from Dundee in the north to Brighton in the south. The students were given a warm welcome by Dr Richard Thomson, Clinical Sub-dean at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, who opened the proceedings.
At the Northern Surgical Skills Conference we are proud of the practical skills teaching on offer and this year’s meeting did not disappoint. Once again, Karl Storz very kindly provided laparoscopy stacks to give students a taste of laparoscopic surgery.
“The SimMan station gave students practice in managing emergency scenarios not often covered in the undergraduate curriculum”
New for 2012, was the suturing workshop sponsored by the RCSEd. In addition to teaching on basic suturing and knot tying techniques, delegates were given the chance to test their suturing skills on pig trotters.
The SimMan station gave students practice in managing emergency scenarios not often covered in the undergraduate curriculum. Fourth year Newcastle student Joshua Howells impressed the surgeons throughout the day and was awarded the coveted Golden Scalpel Award for the best practical skills.
This year’s enthusiastic speakers were a highlight of the day. Talks included a new and deeply moving presentation on Human Factors in Surgery by Mr Clarke, Consultant Vascular Surgeon and RCSEd Regional Surgical Adviser. Mr Horgan from NUGITS gave an inspiring talk on surgery in the developing world which included a live web chat with Mr Kondo Chilonga, Head of Surgery at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Tanzania. Other talks included ‘The Future of Surgery’ by Mr Sean Woodcock, Consultant General Surgeon, and ‘Surgical Careers and Portfolio Advice’ by Mr Iain McCallum, Specialist Registrar.
The quality of abstracts submitted was extremely high. Fourteen abstracts from a plethora of surgical specialties were chosen to be presented as posters. Three expert judges: Mr Horgan, Mr Bawa and Mr Clarke assessed the posters and four entrants were selected to present their work. Of these, Kishan Moosai’s ‘Beyond the Basin: The Development of a Multimedia Teaching Package on Pelvic Anatomy for Future Pelvic Surgeons’ was judged to be the best. Prizes for the finalists were kindly donated by PasTest and Oxford University Press.
The conference received extremely positive feedback, scoring ‘excellent’ on overall experience. There was particular praise for the high surgeon to student ratio, engaging talks and the good value for money! We must not forget that the conference would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. We would like to give special thanks to the RCSEd, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Surgeons England, the Association of Surgeons in Training, Karl Storz and Ethicon Endosurgery. Thank you also to Mr Venkatesh Kanakalaka and all the other faculty members who gave up their time to help make the day a big success.
We hope that the insightful talks and unrivalled practical skills teaching will help this year’s students on their journey to becoming the surgeons of the future.
The Northern Surgical Skills
Tom Ankers, Jessie Hill,
Christophe Thomas and Fay Riley