Patient-centred, acculturation, and holistic healthcare: Our EAU Exchange Programme experience

During the EAU Exchange Programme, which comprised tours at three renowned centres in Paris, France and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we gained several valuable clinical and surgical skills that have significantly enriched our practice as urologists. Additionally, participating in the 39th Annual EAU Congress (EAU24) was highly beneficial. We had in-depth discussions about each patient's neurological problems and management strategies.

Thu, 20 Jun 2024 • By Asst. Prof. Jungyo Suh (KR) and Dr. Jun Ho Lee (KR)
Exchange ProgrammesRoupretVan MoorselaarMertensPigotWuTUAKUAJUA
Together with other fellows from the Japanese Urological Association, Taiwan Urological Association and the team from the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL)

During the tour, some of the most notable procedures included sentinel node biopsy in detecting positive lymph nodes in prostate cancer. The ability to perform real-time intraoperative assessment of lymph nodes during prostatectomy improved our surgical decision-making process. This technique helped determine the extent of lymph node dissection required, potentially reducing unnecessary removal of non-cancerous nodes.

Technically, the general surgical procedures or skills were not very different from our practices back in our country. However, in Europe, there is more time dedicated to discussing each patient, allowing for a more focused and careful approach. In addition, we found the Dutch system interesting because they refer patients to different hospitals based on their diseases for a more specialised approach. Learning about intersex surgery in the Netherlands, which is not common in South Korea, was a particularly valuable and interesting experience as well.

Witnessing the integration of cutting-edge technologies in everyday clinical practice inspired us to advocate for adopting similar innovations in our home institution. This exposure has been pivotal in driving our commitment to continuous learning and improvement in our surgical practice.

On a personal level

The experience of living and working in different countries enhanced our adaptability and resilience. Immersing ourselves in new cultures, navigating language barriers, and adjusting to different healthcare systems have all contributed to our growth as a more well-rounded, globally-conscious, and competent physicians.

The opportunity to work with and learn from leading urologists in France and the Netherlands enriched our professional network and fostered cross-cultural collaboration. These relationships broadened our perspectives on global best practices in urology, and opened up opportunities for future collaborations, knowledge exchange, and joint research initiatives.

Observing the patient-centred care models in France and the Netherlands taught us the importance of empathy and effective communication. We saw how taking the time to listen to patients' concerns and involving them in their treatment plans can significantly improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.

감사합니다 (Gamsahamnida)/Thank you

In summary, the International Academic Exchange Tour has significantly contributed to our personal growth by enhancing our patient-centred approach, cultural sensitivity, adaptability, professional network, commitment to continuous learning, and holistic healthcare perspective. These experiences have made us better urologists. We are inspired to integrate these new perspectives and practices into our work in South Korea, ultimately benefiting our patients and contributing to the advancement of urological care.

We would like to extend our appreciation to Prof. Morgan Rouprêt (FR) and Prof. Jeroen van Moorselaar (NL) for hosting the programme. Our special thanks go to Dr. Laura Mertens (NL) and Dr. Garry Pigot (NL) for their warm hospitality. We are also grateful to our TUA/JUA friends who participated in this programme, as well as, to Prof. Zhenjie Wu from the Shanghai Hospital. Last but not least, we would like to express our gratitude to the EAU for the opportunity to partake in the exchange programme.