Not everyone is used to cadaver labs and few people are using them regularly yet. We are working hard to change that, since the benefits of cadaveric training is well documented.
These are the 5 mistakes we see when surgeons visit the lab:
1. Not prepared enough:
When you come, make sure you have the anatomy knowledge. Attendees on our courses are usually experienced surgeons, and we won’t be spending time on revising anatomy (unless of course this is part of our course agenda). If not, make sure you know your anatomy. The course content and work will be much more useful to you if you do.
2. Not making the day count
If you are going to take a day out of your busy schedule, make sure the day is worth it. Don’t be late, don’t plan to leave before the course is well and truly over. We have packed a full day for you, and we will make sure you get a lot out of your training investment — but you have to be all in. Spending time on your phone may be necessary, and we fully respect your choices. But…remember that cadaver trainings are rare and important opportunities to practice skills, talk to colleagues from around the world (or your own hospital if you train together), and everyone is there to learn, so make the most of it.
3. Being too cautious
While we really, really appreciate the respect shown for our donors, please remember they are there to teach you, so please let them. Not cutting, not testing, not doing the procedure as many times as you are encouraged to, minimises the impact of your training day, and reduces the positive impact the donor has on future patient outcomes. Don’t be afraid of using new skills, testing other ways to do things or even trying something you think may work better — your donor has given their body for you to use to improve their skills, and they knew exactly what they wanted: be valuable. Let them be valuable.
4. Being inappropriately dressed
Labs can be chilly, depending on what courses are going on (esp with fresh frozen specimens multi day courses we try to keep temperature low to ensure a pleasant working environment). Dress in layers, but not things that hang low. For example, a long line cardigan is not very easy to maneuver around in all day, nor are suede shoes (or heels). Dress comfortable, and remember that this will be like an operating room. Sometimes there are spillage, and despite always keeping a clean and tidy lab, things do happen.
5. Not using the course after you come back
When you come to train with us, you make an investment in both yourself and your future patients.
You, because increased skills make you a better surgeon, and that makes your practice more successful of it makes you more employable.
Your patients, because you show them that you are willing to always work on being better, willingness to strive towards increased patient safety.
Put the course on your website, showcase your certificate, tell your clients that you have done the course. Everyone wants to be cared for by someone who show committment to continuous improvement, and by someone who shows they care. If you run a private practice you can offer more value, which means you get better compensated for your time. It makes you a safer surgeon, and you should let your insurance company know. Perhaps you can even get a lower premium!