Exposure to key surgical procedures during specialist general surgical training in South Africa
Background. The logged experience of specialist general surgical trainees has made it possible to analyse their surgical procedural exposure.
Objective. To evaluate the exposure to key surgical procedures of South African (SA) trainees in general surgery from logbooks submitted to the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA).
Methods. Logbooks submitted and meeting the minimum requirements for the six final examinations for the fellowship of the College of Surgeons of the CMSA between August 2010 and March 2013 were selected. Consolidated surgical procedural experience was analysed according to procedural category, extent of supervision, procedure complexity and university at which the trainee performed the procedures.
Results. The 95 logbooks entered into the study recorded 144 499 procedures, 60.6% of which were unsupervised, 18.5% supervised and 20.9% assisting another surgeon. Major and minor procedures made up 40.4% and 54.6%, respectively, with the remaining 5% categorised as ‘other’. A breakdown of procedural exposure per category, including the main contributing or key procedure for each category, is presented.
Conclusion. Large numbers of procedures are logged by trainees during their surgical training. Inter-university and trainee key procedural exposure in SA differ to a small degree but are striking in some categories. Exposure to key procedures is insufficient in some categories. We are currently unable to assess the quality of training and quality of surgical skills from such logbooks. A standardised electronic logbook will facilitate future analyses of trainee procedural exposure, but other tools will be required to assess the quality of surgical skills training.