Endoscopic training is increasingly complex as benchmarks for quality evolve and tools and procedures advance with innovation.
A team of experts, led by Matthew J. Whitson, MD, with Hofstra University/Northwell Health in Hempstead, N.Y., aimed to simplify challenges for educators and clinical endoscopists with a review of tools and techniques for education, as well as assessment methods.
Their review was published in the
Key steps to effective feedback include first talking about the goals for the endoscopy session, then careful observation, but minimal feedback during the endoscopy. Most of the feedback should come after the endoscopy, the authors wrote.
A paper bydemonstrated that with beginning endoscopists, giving feedback afterward led to long-term skill development as compared with short-term benefits of frequent feedback in the middle of procedures.
Feedback should be constructive and specific with emphasis on goals for the next procedure. It should be delivered in a respectful, nonthreatening way for greatest effectiveness.
In this model, each trainee must achieve competence in specific skills to progress to the next level.
“For example, the trainee must master retroflexion in the stomach prior to attempting clip hemostasis in the stomach,” the authors wrote.
Repetitively practicing the skill is coupled with direct feedback.
Mastery learning is often paired with simulation so trainees can practice in a safe space before working with patients.
Cognitive load theory
Knowing the challenges of learners can help educators with instruction techniques. An important concept is cognitive load theory (CLT). CLT is focused on the working memory of a learner and the harm that an overload of information can have on learning. A learner’s working memory can process only a few pieces of information at any given time, the theory states.
One mitigation strategy by educators may be to assign a trainee a smaller piece of a specific task appropriate to the trainee’s skill level.
“For example, an early trainee endoscopist may be able to inject epinephrine for a bleeding vessel, but not be ready to perform effective BiCap cautery,” the authors suggested.
Different learning styles
Learning styles include visual, aural, reading/writing, and kinesthetic styles (when learners need to touch or manipulate to learn a skill).
“A study of surgical trainees demonstrated that kinesthetic learning was the most preferred unimodal learning style of those entering the field,” the authors wrote.
Dr. Whitson and coauthors gave examples of working with trainees with different learning styles.
A trainee who learns visually, they say, might need to learn about “loop reduction” by looking at images of alpha or beta loops or using ScopeGuide during endoscopy. A kinesthetic learner may need to feel a successful loop reduction with hands on the endoscope during simulation to understand the skill better.
Role of simulation
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which oversees Gastroenterology Fellowship training, mandates simulation in gastroenterology education but does not specify endoscopic simulation. The American Board of Surgeons, however, does require their trainees to complete the flexible endoscopic curriculum, which is simulation-based.
Simulator use appears particularly helpful early in training.demonstrated that colonoscopy simulation has benefit in the first 30 colonoscopies in depth of insertion, independent completion, and ability to identify landmarks.
Dr. Whitson and colleagues wrote that using sheer volume of procedures as a measure of competency is falling out of favor and there is recognition in the field that competency will come at different times and at different volumes for individual trainees.
assessing competency in esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), for example, demonstrated that, while most trainees will achieve independent intubation rates of the second part of the duodenum by 150 procedures, it will take between 200 and 250 for the average fellow to reach competency of all motor skills for a standard EGD, and 300 to become efficient (Gastrointest Endosc. 2019;90(4):613-20).
Assessment of skills has evolved from numbers of procedures to competency-based assessments to the development of direct observation tools.
Coaching for the practicing endoscopist
Most studies on coaching have focused on trainees, but coaching can be used with experienced endoscopists as well.
investigated use of direct verbal coaching to train experienced practitioners in water immersion colonoscopy “which resulted in shorter cecal intubation times, improved [adenoma detection rate], and less use of sedation during procedures,” the authors noted. currently underway in the United Kingdom uses electronic feedback coupled with education and training to change behaviors to improve polyp detection performance in colonoscopy.
The authors noted that using one of these tools or strategies does not preclude using another.
“[I]n fact educators likely will recognize the utility of incorporating multiple of these techniques in the same endoscopy session with a trainee,” the authors wrote.
One author holds stock in Boston Scientific. The remaining authors disclose no conflicts.