Developing a comprehensive, proficiency-based training program for robotic surgery

Surgery. 2012 Sep;152(3):477-88. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2012.07.028.


Introduction: Robotically assisted surgery has become very popular for numerous surgical disciplines, yet training practices remain variable with little to no validation. The purpose of this study was to develop a comprehensive, proficiency-based robotic training program.

Methods: A skill deconstruction list was generated by observation of robotic operations and interviews with experts. Available resources were used, and other components were developed as needed to develop a comprehensive, proficiency-based curriculum to teach all deconstructed skills. Preliminary construct and content validity and curriculum feasibility were evaluated.

Results: The skill deconstruction list contained 23 items. Curricular components included an online tutorial, a half-day interactive session, and 9 inanimate exercises with objective metrics. Novice (546 ± 26) and expert (923 ± 60) inanimate composite scores were different (P < .001), supporting construct validity, and substantial pre-test to post-test improvement was noted after successful training completion. All 23 deconstructed skills were rated as highly relevant (4.9 ± 0.5; 5-point scale), and no skills were absent from the curriculum, supporting content validity.

Conclusion: These data suggest that this proficiency-based training curriculum comprehensively addresses the skills necessary to perform robotic operations with early construct and content validity and feasibility demonstrated. Further validation is encouraged.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods
  • Curriculum*
  • Education / organization & administration*
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Program Development / methods
  • Program Development / standards
  • Robotics / education*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / education*
  • Suture Techniques / education
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • United States