Prof. Palou on the advantages of EBU certification of the Residency Training Programme

The European Board of Urology has offered certification for residency training programmes across Europe since 1993, offering a seal of quality for the institutions involved and attracting talented residents from across Europe.

Tue, 4 Jun 2024
European Board Of Urology EBUResidency TrainingEAU Education Office ESU
Prof. Palou with this year's urology residents

But what does getting certified involve and how does it benefit the participating centre? Prof. Joan Palou (Barcelona, ES), Head of the Urology Department at Barcelona’s Fundació Puigvert explains how his department recently went through re-certification. Prof. Palou is also well known in educational and training circles as Chair of the European School of Urology from 2012 to 2021.

Prof. Palou: “Our urology residency training programme in Barcelona finds its origins in the 1960s. At that time, the doctors in training were called ‘residents’ because they lived in the same hospital as where they trained, 24 hours a day. Dr. Puigvert was an innovator and he was quick to create an in-house school of urology in order to train doctors, following an specific programme, in order for them to become urologists.”

“Later in the 1980s, the National Residency training programme (MIR: Médico Interno Residente) was offered at Fundació Puigvert. Since then, we have trained three residents in urology per year in a five-year programme.”

Benefits and motivations

The Fundació Puigvert was first EBU certified in 2008, and since then this certification has been renewed every five years.

“Teaching and training are in our DNA,” says Prof. Palou. “We have trained, for years, a lot of urologists from all over the world, mainly Spanish and Central and South America. Language has been a nice linkage between our centre and Latin America, and we still nowadays have some residents from there. Also, junior and senior urologists visit us for short periods in order to have an update on this specialty.”

“It is really gratifying and a great incentive to be responsible of the new generations of urologists. It is also a stimulus for us to continue improving our medical and also non-technical skills, in the pursuit of progressing residents’ urology knowledge from the basic to the advanced.”

The site visit

To start the certification process, a potential centre must first submit a formal application, and to prove proficiency in certain areas. An important prerequisite is the that the training centre is recognised by national authorities. Prof. Palou:

“Together with the application form, there is quite a volume of figures and data to be provided regarding the hospital’s facilities, characteristics of the training, the number of surgeries and activities carried out by each resident per year, meetings, publications, abstracts presented, and so on.”

“Once the application is approved, the auditors visit our centre. Here they have interviews with training members of the staff, related to the different areas of urology: uro-oncology, paediatric urology, lithiasis, reconstructive surgery, functional and female urology, our renal transplantation programme and andrology. This also includes other departments with whom we collaborate in education such as radiology, anaesthesiology, and pathology. The auditors also speak with the residents’ tutors, who are the physicians directly involved in the guidance and engagement of the residents in their learning process.”

“The EBU auditors also visit the centre in order to evaluate the different areas that have to be available for our residents: the library, operating rooms, recovery rooms, teaching rooms, residents’ room, simulators and training rooms, emergency room, endoscopy area, outpatient department and so on.”

“They also attend a multidisciplinary meeting in uro-oncology, in order to see the interaction of the residents with the different medical specialties involved in that area, including medical oncology, radiotherapy, radiology, and pathology. Finally, the auditors have a personal interview with some of the residents (one from each year) in order to evaluate directly with them, their feelings, sensations, questions, wishes, or other pending aspects.”

“(Re-)certification really is a fully external audit of our daily practice in the area of residency training, and there are always areas of improvement! Residency training certification is a stamp of quality for any centre. For us, it has been an incentive to become better and better and to improve every area of the training process in order to continue to be a hospital of excellence in all the areas of urology.”

Apply now!

Find out more about the Residency Training Programme in Urology by visiting the EBU website. Two application deadlines are set every year and the next one is on 1 September!

Fundació Puigvert in Barcelona, Spain.