Woo K, Rowe V, Weaver F, Sullivan M. The results of a needs assessment to guide a vascular surgery skills simulation curriculum. Ann Vasc Surg. 2012 Feb;26(2):198-204

PMID: 22304862


In response to economic and societal pressures, a new integrated model of vascular surgery training has emerged that will condense training into 5 years. These new requirements challenge educators to develop innovative training programs that produce competent surgeons despite time constraints. Surgical skills simulation is a proven effective method to teach and evaluate learners in surgery residency programs.
To determine which skills are the most important to include in a vascular surgical skills training curriculum, a needs assessment survey was administered to all attending surgeons and fellows at vascular surgery training institutions in Southern California. Participants were asked to rank 52 vascular procedures and skills on a Likert scale (with scores ranging from 1 [not necessary] to 5 [essential]) based on perceived need for simulation training.
Nineteen (48.7%) surveys were returned (6 fellows [60%], 13 attending surgeons [44.8%]). Carotid artery stenting was ranked by both fellows and attendings as the most essential procedure for simulation, with a mean score of 4.26. This was followed by open repair of ruptured infrarenal aortic aneurysm (R-AAA) (3.79), renal angioplasty/stent (3.68), thoracic endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (3.53), and open repair of juxtarenal/suprarenal aortic aneurysm (3.47). In addition, fellows gave a rank of 4 or higher to R-AAA, thoracic endovascular aortic aneurysm repair, mesenteric artery angioplasty/bypass, renal angioplasty/stent, and intravascular ultrasonography. Attendings did not give a mean rank score of 4 or higher to any procedures other than carotid artery stenting.
Our needs assessment identified vascular procedures where simulation may be beneficial to improve the skill level of vascular trainees in Southern California. With economic and logistical constraints for simulation at each individual training facility, a potential approach to this educational challenge is a regional Southern California vascular surgery skills simulation center.