Placing a tube down a patient’s throat or into his colon isn’t easy, and doctors have devised a new way to test a young physician’s ability to do it.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center expects to be one of 16 testing centers in the United States and Canada to evaluate surgical residents — young physicians in training to become surgeons — for their ability to perform endoscopic procedures.
The computerized evaluation includes a written test and placement of the tube into a special mannequin, said Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov, professor of surgery at UNMC. The simulation is realistic and provides the feel and challenge of placing the tube into a patient, Oleynikov said.
UNMC awaits the arrival of the equipment necessary to become one of the endoscopy testing centers. The test taker’s performance will be sent electronically to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons for a pass-fail grade, Oleynikov said.
Endoscopic procedures are used to examine the colon and stomach for polyps, cancerous conditions and other problems. Placing the tube incorrectly can damage the esophagus, stomach or colon.
Within a year, Oleynikov said, physicians will have to pass this evaluation to practice as a surgeon. “This particular test is indeed brand new,” he said.
The society said test centers will open this year in Cleveland, Houston, Philadelphia and Montreal. Once those are deemed successful, the society said, 12 more will open, including at UNMC. There also will be centers in this region in Denver and Indianapolis.