Rouleaux - An Introduction to Vascular Surgery
26 February 2018
Vascular Surgery became an independent specialty from General Surgery in the UK in 2013. National recruitment towards a Vascular Surgery National Training Number (NTN) is through a combined application to General and Vascular Surgery. Entrance to the speciality has been quite competitive. However, there has been a reduction in candidates applying. In 2017, there were 350 candidates applying for 236 appointable posts in General & Vascular Surgery. This is in stark contrast to previous years; in 2013, there were 585 candidates applying for appointable posts. This worrying trend is mirrored in all specialties of higher surgical training. This has led to different specialties implementing different methods to encourage participation from prospective trainees.
Rouleaux club, the UK Vascular trainees’ society, were quite alarmed at the worrying trend and the implications it may have on the burgeoning speciality and the future workforce. Prospective trainees have limited or no access to Vascular Surgery during their foundation and core training years, as well as having inadequate exposure of Vascular Surgery in medical school. As an innovative and engaging society, the aim of Rouleaux Club was to increase involvement to junior doctors and students. ‘An introduction to vascular Surgery’ was a course designed to accomplish this.
At the Vascular Societies AGM 2017, the Rouleaux Club ran an interactive half-day course which was attended by 14 junior doctors and medical students. The day included talks on CV building, experiences of a Vascular Surgeon and how to be successful at achieving A Vascular Surgery NTN. There were also simulated practical sessions on endovascular AAA repair, embolectomy and carotid endarterectomy.
Feedback from the course was very positive, with all respondents describing the day as ‘excellent’ or ‘great’. The practical sessions were more enjoyed by the delegates. The tutor to delegate ratio was 1:1 and the quality of these tutors was praised for being very patient, especially some candidates who had never used surgical apparatus before. When asked about how to improve the course, most delegates response was to make the course longer to a whole day!
Courses like ‘An introduction to vascular Surgery’ are important in the future of Vascular Surgery and need to be spread to different surgical specialties to reverse the trend of falling application numbers.