NYMC Faculty Publications

Robotic-Assisted Surgery Training (RAST) Program: An Educational Research Protocol

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Surgical Technology International

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Technology has had a dramatic impact on how diseases are diagnosed and treated. Although cut, sew, and tie remain the staples of surgical craft, new technical skills are required. While there is no replacement for live operative experience, training outside the operating room offers structured educational opportunities and stress modulation. A stepwise program for acquiring new technical skills required in robotic surgery involves three modules: ergonomic, psychomotor, and procedural. This is a prospective, educational research protocol aiming at evaluating the responsiveness of general surgery residents in Robotic-Assisted Surgery Training (RAST). Responsiveness is defined as change in performance over time. Performance is measured by the following content-valid metrics for each module. Module 1 proficiency in ergonomics includes: cart deploy, boom control, cart driving, camera port docking, targeting anatomy, flex joint, clearance joint and port nozzle adjusting, and routine and emergent undocking. Module 2 proficiency in psychomotor skills includes tissue handling, accuracy error, knot quality, and operating time. Module 3 proficiency in procedural skills prevents deviations from standardized sequential procedural steps in order to test length of specimen resection, angle for transection, vessel stump length post ligation, distance of anastomosis from critical landmarks, and proximal and distal resection margins. Resident responsiveness over time will be assessed comparing the results of baseline testing with final testing. Educational interventions will include viewing one instructional video prior to module commencement, response to module-specific multiple-choice questions, and individual weekly training sessions with a robotic instructor in the operating room. Residents will progress through modules upon successful final testing and will evaluate the educational environment with the Dundee Ready Educational Environment Measure (DREEM) inventory. The RAST program protocol outlined herein is an educational challenge with the primary endpoint to provide evidence that formal instruction has an impact on proficiency and safety in executing robotic skills.