The European Database for Subspecialist Training in Neonatology - Transparency Achieved

Morten Breindahl*, Mats Blennow, Jean-Claude Fauchere, Marta Thio Lluch, Daniele De Luca, Neil Marlow, Jean-Charles Picaud, Charles Christoph Roehr, Mireille Vanpee, Eduardo Vilamor, Gabriela Zaharie, Gorm Greisen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The European Society for Neonatology (ESN) developed a curriculum for subspecialist training in Europe recommending standards for national neonatal training programmes. We speculate whether these official recommendations are widely accepted or used in practice. Objectives: To characterize the variation in national neonatal training programmes, to enhance transparency, and to compare them to the ESN Curriculum. Methods: We constructed a database based on the backbone of the ESN Curriculum: (1) training - knowledge, (2) training - skills, (3) key competencies, (4) personal development, and (5) recording of progress. National neonatal representatives from all 30 member states of the Union of European Medical Specialties (UEMS) provided data on national training programmes. Results: Although only one country (3%) based its neonatology training entirely on the ESN Curriculum, we found high levels of uniformity among the UEMS member countries regarding knowledge, skills, and key competencies needed to practice neonatology at a tertiary care level. Discrepancy was encountered on ethical and legal issues and on personal development of the trainees. Mentoring and professional evaluation was generally not implemented in the participating countries. Conclusions: There is an awareness and readiness to focus on educational demands for neonatal trainees. Further discussions about the overall educational goals of neonatal training and the essence of practicing neonatology in each country are needed. The ESN will undertake this process to provide an updated and effective syllabus aimed to harmonize care and outcomes for babies and their families across Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-82
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Neonatology
  • Subspecialist training
  • Postgraduate medical education
  • Fellowship
  • Curriculum
  • Syllabus
  • Assessment framework
  • European Society for Neonatology
  • Union of European Medical Specialties


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