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Pioneering simulation in obstetrics and gynaecology training

Pioneering simulation in obstetrics and gynaecology training

The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (IOG) at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland continues to push boundaries in simulation training, providing world-leading postgraduate medical training in obstetrics and gynaecology.

While the European Working Time Directive has positively resulted in more reasonable hours for physicians across the health service, it has also resulted in reduced training hours for postgraduate medical Trainees. This means reduced exposure to hands-on learning across the wide variety of conditions, procedures, and treatments central to their education and training.

Having an already well-structured programme in simulation training, IOG are well positioned to grow the simulation courses available through its training programmes to adapt and enhance training in Ireland, according to Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan, IOG Director of Education and Training.

“There is mounting international evidence on the benefits of simulation, and practically we see very positive outcomes in terms of skill development and patient care,” Dr O’Sullivan said.

The Institute offers a suite of simulation programmes through Basic and Higher Specialist Training, addressing topics such as minimal access skills, severe perineal trauma, obstetric emergencies, difficult vaginal deliveries, impacted head at Caesarean section, maternal collapse, and massive obstetric haemorrhage.

“Courses such as these are core components of our formal training curricula. And, we see a large number of international doctors travelling to Ireland to access our courses, and work with us to improve patient care in their home countries,” Dr O’Sullivan said.

“The support of the HSE National Doctors in Training Programme (NDTP) has been instrumental in enabling us to plan, grow and deliver simulated training initiatives and world-leading curricula, delivering the calibre of consultants required to provide the highest standard of care to women at all stages of life in Ireland.”

A Consultant Obstetrician and Urogynaecologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital, Dr O’Sullivan has been heavily involved in delivering and directing training with RCPI since 2011.

Following time spent working in the UK, she returned to Ireland with clear ideas about workforce planning and has published extensively on the recruitment and retention of specialist staff in women’s health.

“Being closely involved in the career progression of junior doctors has been huge for me and I knew simulation had to be an integral part of what we offer,” she said.

Speaking to Dr O’Sullivan, it is impossible not to get excited about the future of medical education in obstetrics and gynaecology.

“I am particularly proud of the fact that we have 100% recruitment record in recent times – that means 100% of Trainees who complete our training programmes go on to work in Irish hospitals.

“Working closely with NDTP, we will continue to ensure that Ireland leads the way in the provision of best practice patient care, whatever the challenges thrown our way. Simulation empowers our Trainees to be agile and responsive to the cases which present in our hospitals across the country. We are excited to continue to expand our offering and share our knowledge and experience globally.”

Dr Suzanne O'Sullivan is the Director of Education and Training at the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.