Changing Education Paradigms: Training Transplant Fellows for High Stake Procedures

Teresa C. Rice, Al Faraaz Kassam, Hannah V. Lewis, Mark Hobeika, Madison C. Cuffy, Lloyd E. Ratner, Tayyab S. Diwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Living kidney donation is a unique operation, as healthy patients are placed at risks inherent with major surgery without physical benefit. The ethical implications associated with any morbidity make it a high-stakes procedure. Fellowships are faced with the dilemma of optimizing fellow training in this demanding procedure while providing safe outcomes to donors. The Laparoscopic Living Donor Nephrectomy (LDN) Workshop is a resource that can provide intense instruction to help bridge the training deficit. Our aim was to examine the course's effectiveness in improving fellows’ skill and confidence related to implementing LDN into future practice. METHODS: From 2017 to 2018, 36 abdominal transplant surgery fellows participated in a 2-day workshop consisting of live surgery observation, cadaver lab, and didactic sessions. Surveys were completed precourse, postcourse, and at 3-month postcourse follow-up. RESULTS: Preworkshop, 61% of participants reported less than 50% confidence in independent performance of LDN. Following workshop completion, 95% reported improved confidence. At 3-month follow-up, there was a 30% (p < 0.05) increase in median confidence level. Immediately following the course, 67% reported improved ability to analyze kidneys prior to donation, 74% changed the way donor candidates were evaluated, and 67% reported enhanced ability to risk stratify donors. Eighty-five percent felt it strengthened operative techniques with 70% implementing new diagnostic treatments and surgical strategies. Seventy percent of participants felt it improved their communication with colleagues and 67% had enhanced communication with patients. These trends were maintained at 3-month follow-up. CONCLUSION: These results indicated that the LDN Workshop improves confidence and increases fellows’ skillset in a high-stakes procedure. The LDN Workshop is a useful adjunct to fellowship training to optimize successful, efficient, and safe performance of a demanding procedure in a uniquely healthy donor population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-836
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Laparoscopic Living Donor Nephrectomy
  • simulation
  • simulation-based training
  • skills workshop

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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