American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

International Exchange Scholar Shares Her Visit to Ireland

Leigh Anne Dageforde, MD, MPHAs the 2013 American College of Surgeons (ACS)–Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) exchange resident, I spent six days in Dublin, Ireland, visiting hospitals, meeting surgeons, and attending the Millin Symposium and Lecture. The symposium highlighted ongoing adjustments to the surgical training program in Ireland. The RCSI is reducing the number of required years of training and, to comply with the European working time directive, residents are being limited to a 48-hour workweek. Training modifications include increasing the use of simulation, standardizing administration of national boards, updating the current trainee evaluation system, developing of mobile device application, and encouraging the teaching of junior residents in the operating room.  

Leigh Anne Dageforde, MD, MPHAll surgical residents educated in Ireland are trained through one RCSI program, which allows for more standardization than is available in the U.S., where there are multiple residency programs in diverse locations. Unlike my residency, which includes multiple rotations through different services throughout the year, residents in Ireland spend six months to one year in a single rotation gaining mastery of skills and specialization if desired. All residents take general surgery call at public hospitals, allowing senior-level residents more autonomy to learn through their experiences in the operating room while on call.

The trip provided me with a unique opportunity to meet surgeons with worldwide training and experience. Many aspects of surgery including the surgical mentality are universal allowing for easy conversation with the surgeons with whom I interacted. I am thankful for the Resident and Associate Society Membership Committee and all the RCSI did to welcome me for this unique opportunity. I highly recommend this excellent experience to other residents.

About the Author

Leigh Anne Dageforde, MD, MPH is a resident in general surgery at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.