This is the place to read the real experiences of registrars going through speciality training. You’ll be able to discover the good, the bad and the downright weird. Click back regularly for new reports and feel free to send us your stories. We can all learn from each other.
First to share is BSGE trainee rep Donna Ghosh:
The advanced laparoscopic ATSM- A 2-year Masterclass on Merseyside!
I commenced specialty training in 2008 in the South West Peninsula Deanery. I knew from an early stage in my career that I wanted to be a benign minimal access surgeon. I applied for the advanced laparoscopic ATSM through the national application process. I was lucky enough to get my first choice post and commenced training in Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral in August 2014.
In all honesty, I found the first few months settling in quite difficult. Part of the problem was trying to understand just how much operating I should be doing, and secondly, how I would achieve this. I had two main clinical supervisors (David Rowlands and Tom Aust) who very quickly identified and knocked my ‘old habits’ out of me! They are such fantastic surgeons; I think I spent the first few months wondering would I ever be good enough. The standard ‘settling in’ time occurred. I think the learning curve however, is pretty steep. I soon learnt the way my bosses liked me to do things. Having two trainers was really useful as they both had very different techniques in performing the same operation, which allowed me to develop in ways I found most suited myself, along with tips and tricks I would need to use in difficult cases.
The advanced laparoscopy logbook is pretty intense. The curriculum also includes colorectal and urological competencies, which are somewhat harder to achieve. I organised sessions in colorectal and urology theatres and clinics to learn techniques of safe bowel resection, ureteric stent insertion and ureteric re-implantation respectively along with the appropriate counseling necessary. Pain clinics were also essential to ensure a holistic approach to the patient with pelvic pain.
Obviously whilst doing this ATSM, the other ATSM(s) needed completing too, as well as gaining USS proficiencies, making my CV competitive and at some point having a social life! I am not saying it’s harder than the other ATSMs but I definitely think it’s more intense. If you want to do more than just tick the boxes I would say be prepared to come in on off days. If you want a career specialising in the resection of endometriosis you will want to do make the most of the unit that has the expertise to train you.
Post CCT Fellow, Arrowe Park Hospital
BSGE trainee Representative