BACKGROUND: Robotic-assisted surgery is increasing and there is a need for a structured and evidence-based curriculum to learn basic robotic competencies. Relevant training tasks, eligible trainees, realistic learning goals, and suitable training methods must be identified. We sought to develop a common curriculum that can ensure basic competencies across specialties.
METHODS: Two robotic surgeons from all departments in Denmark conducting robotic-assisted surgery within gynecology, urology, and gastrointestinal surgery, were invited to participate in a three-round Delphi study to identify learning goals and rank them according to relevance for a basic curriculum. An additional survey was conducted after the Delphi rounds on what training methods were considered best for each learning goal and who (console surgeon/patient-side assistant) should master each learning goal.
RESULTS: Fifty-six robotic surgeons participated and the response rates were 86%, 89%, and 77%, for rounds 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The Delphi study identified 40 potential learning goals, of which 29 were ranked as essential, e.g., Understand the link between arm placement and freedom of movement or Be able to perform emergency un-docking. In the additional survey, the response rate was 70%. Twenty-two (55%) of the identified learning goals were found relevant for the patient-side assistant and twenty-four (60%) were linked to a specific suitable learning method with > 75% agreement.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings can help training centers plan their training programs concerning educational content and methods for training/learning. Furthermore, patient-side assistants should also receive basic skills training in robotic surgery.