OBJECTIVE To assess whether real-time cysto-urethroscopy (CUS) performance improves by simulator-based training (criterion or predictive validity), addressing the research question 'Does practical skills training on the URO Mentor (UM, Simbionix USA Corp., Cleveland, OH, USA) virtual-reality simulator improve the performance of flexible CUS in patients'. SUBJECTS AND METHODS Participants (71 interns from Catharina Hospital Eindhoven, CHE, and 29 from University Medical Centre Groningen, UMCG) were randomized to carry out CUS in a patient after training on the UM (UM-trained, 50) or without training on UM (control, 50). The assessment of real-time performance consisted of scoring on a Global Rating Scale (GRS) by supervisors unaware of training status. Data were analysed using stepwise multiple linear regression. The effect size (ES) indication for correlations was used to interpret the magnitude of a standard regression coefficient (beta); an ES of 0.10, 0.30 and 0.50 were considered small, moderate and large, respectively. The study was approved by the Medical Review Ethics Committees of the participating hospitals. RESULTS Overall, the group that received training performed significantly better than the controls (P <0.003, beta range 0.30-0.47). There was no effect of training for participants with a specific preference for a surgical speciality in two of five GRS scores. Participants from CHE obtained higher GRS 3 scores than those from UMCG. Significantly more UMCG trainees indicated having had stress than those from CHE (P <0.001). CONCLUSIONS The results showed that interns who had trained on UM outperformed controls for a CUS procedure in a patient. Training for CUS on the UM is to be recommended for learning to respect tissue, procedural knowledge, flow of procedure and forward planning. Use of the UM to train interns with a specific interest in a surgical speciality in handling instruments, and time and motion, seems to be of limited value.
- randomized controlled trial