Tackling education as our priority target

27 July 2010

European core curriculum tops agenda of 10th EAU National Societies Meeting

Many companies in the financial world have returned to what they call their core business in meeting the current crisis. We can take the cue from the corporate world in these days when we are facing the impact of a greying population and the reality of an increasingly expensive healthcare system, challenges in medical education and a highly specialised medical discipline.

At the two-day meeting of the EAU and the national urological societies held last June 11 and 12, 2010 in Paphos, Cyprus, we have focused on the question of re-examining our priority tasks. The 10th meeting in the series, the more than 65 participants coming from across Europe discussed issues on urological education, the profile of our discipline, the EAU Guidelines, future needs in continuing medical education (CME), boosting the role of the Regional Office and improving the EAU’s publishing activities.

From our discussions with the representatives of the 27 national urological societies, and the board members of affiliated offices such as the European School of Urology (ESU), European Urological Scholarship Programme (EUSP) and the European Urology-Accredited Continuing Medical Education (EU-ACME), a number of salient issues came to the fore, and these are: the need for a European core curriculum (in urology) and the need to inform medical students, conveying to them the profile of urology as a strong discipline.

Consensus on education
With the consensus on the imperative need for a European core curriculum, the next phase now would be to collect specific proposals regarding curriculum content. A decision was also taken to publish a booklet on urology specifically to inform medical students and impress on them urology’s progressive profile. This is an essential move if we take into account that medical students require not only accurate information but also a persuasive one at the time they make key career decisions. On the local and pan-European levels we also need to further refine our communication strategies for our partners and the general public to have a fair view of the advances made in urology.

Another consensus was reached in properly identifying the unmet needs in education and training particularly on the national level. Although we have already provided the solid basis for hands-on training, clinical education, e-learning and live surgeries, the national societies noted that there is a need to have a course on how to run trials, an activity that can be organised during our Annual EAU Congress.

Regarding the EAU Guidelines the discussions showed that our consistent output is highly valued as reflected in the translated editions of the guidelines published in various countries. These initiatives by national societies are important and reflect their role as a prime link between the EAU and their members.

Another need that was identified was for practical, evidence-based guidelines to be adapted for the Clinical Care Pathways, a proposal that will be taken up by our Guidelines Office. CME trends In recent years CME trends have been significantly impacted by the progress in digital communication and we believe that these developments will eventually transform the way we conduct CME activities. Although CME is almost universal in Europe, it is not mandatory and health authorities in our region oversee CME in various ways depending on the country. We, thus, share the opinion that implementing or achieving best CME practices can be effectively achieved by supra-national institutions or through the European Union (EU) with support from organisations like the EAU.

The meeting in Cyprus also reaffirmed the benefits of stimulating regional links. Our Regional Office organises the regional meetings which are widely viewed as ideal venues to renew links amongst urologists within a specific region and for them to identify possible areas for cooperation. From the perspective of meeting participants, however, concerns were aired regarding chronic logistical obstacles such as issues affecting the mobility of non-Schengen or non-EU participants. Certainly this
is not an insignificant point since this has an impact on the goals of the regional meetings which can erode the interest of potential participants.

The regional meetings have undergone changes in Continued from page 1 recent years to make them more responsive to the needs of the participants, but organisers certainly welcome fresh input from the people involved to make these gatherings more relevant. Additionally, our Regional Office will also look into proposals to revive or re-format defunct meetings such as those previously held in regions like the Black Sea.

Creating the European core curriculum
Streamlining our publication activities has been a constant concern, and although we have not yet conducted a detailed survey on the reach or actual readership of some of our publications, there are indications that we are reaching our partners and communication goals. In Cyprus, the meeting participants noted that a second online journal would be a welcome addition.

At present we have European Urology, the European Urology Today newsletter and our websites (www.urosource.org and www.uroweb.com) as our main communication channels. In recent years we have further refined and improved the goals of these publications, moves that led to an increase in readership. For the proposal to create a second online journal, this should address the perceived gaps left by the other publications, since a move that will widen our publication activities must be justified with how it fulfils and match our current goals.

The meeting in Cyprus has highlighted some items that we all need to closely look into. Again we underscore the need for us to work on and finally realise the creation of a European core curriculum, undoubtedly a key matter that we have to act on. The input of all those concerned in this undertaking is not only crucial but also urgent since it has implications on the future and strength of our speciality in Europe.

We thank the participants for coming up with their ideas and suggestions which shows that this annual gathering accomplishes and identifies areas we might have missed in other meetings. This meeting is not only important for the two-way communication it provides but is also essential in helping us identify short and long-term policies for our association.

On behalf of the EAU Executive and the International Relations Office, we thank all the participants for their input!

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