Background: The SAGES flexible endoscopy course for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) fellows improves confidence and skills in performing gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. This study evaluated the long-term retention of these confidence levels and investigated how fellows changed practices within their fellowships due to the course.
Methods: Participating MIS fellows completed surveys 6 months after the course. Respondents rated their confidence to independently perform 16 endoscopic procedures (1 = not at all; 5 = very), barriers to use of endoscopy, and current uses of endoscopy. Respondents also noted participation in additional skills courses and status of fundamentals of endoscopic surgery (FES) certification. Comparisons of responses from the immediate post-course survey to the 6-month follow-up survey were examined. McNemar and paired t tests were used for analyses.
Results: 23 of 57 (40%) course participants returned to the 6-month survey. No major barriers to endoscopy use were identified. Fellows reported less competition with GI providers as a barrier to practice compared to their original post-course expectations (50% vs. 86%, p < 0.01). In addition, confidence was maintained in performing the majority of the 16 endoscopic procedures, although fellows reported significant decreases in confidence in independently performing snare polypectomy (- 26%; p < 0.05), control of variceal bleeding (- 39%; p < 0.05), colonic stenting (- 48%; p < 0.01), BARRX (- 40%; p < 0.05), and TIF (- 31%; p < 0.05). Fewer fellows used the GI suite to manage surgical problems than was anticipated post course (26% vs. 74%, p < 0.01). Fellows who passed FES noted no significant loss of independence, changes in use, or barriers to use. 18% made additional partnerships with industry after the course. 41% stated flexible endoscopy has influenced their post-fellowship job choice.
Conclusions: The SAGES flexible endoscopy course for MIS fellows results in long-term practice changes with participating fellows maintaining confidence to perform the majority of taught endoscopic procedures 6 months later. Additionally, fellows experienced no major barriers to implementing endoscopy into practice.
Keywords: Course; Fellows; Flexible endoscopy; Follow-up; Minimally invasive.