By Dr. Monita Dhaubanjar
DIAKO Ev. Diakonie Hospital Bremen (DE)
As a Nepali national currently doing my urology residency in Germany, I was able to participate in EUREP, the highly selective resident training programme in Prague, thanks to the European School of Urology (ESU). It was an honour to be selected amongst the 351 other participants from within and beyond Europe.
The 20th edition of EUREP (EUREP22) was a very well-organised six-day programme that summarised the standards for urology across Europe. There were also discussions about the differences of the standards of care and available resources of healthcare systems of each country. International experts represented their countries and allowed the residents during the interactive sessions to explain how things are done in their hospitals or countries. It made me realise the challenges that could have occurred in working on and preparing the EAU Guidelines, and the Herculean task to condense them into precise recommendations.
The different modules summarising urology into six segments not only deepened my theoretical knowledge but the discussions among the presenters also made me see different points of view. The field of urology is ever changing with leaps in medical advances and research.
Furthermore, the clinical wisdom to know when to approach for further treatment (cost factor being a major determiner in most countries) or choose alternatives such as active surveillance (an option that is equally important to offer patients). At EUREP22, I learnt not only to diagnose patients but also give them an array of options available so they can make an informed choice.
Hands-on Training (HOT)
The HOT sessions which were scheduled around the modules were equally interesting. I participated in the transurethral resection session. The one-on-one session helped me focus on my strength and weakness which increased my confidence manyfold. I really wished I had this kind of training during my residency too (unfortunately, the hectic hospital schedules leave little time for the consultants to teach in a relaxed manner). The practical tips and tricks, and the honest reviews from the trainers as to how I could improve myself were very enlightening.
Due to some cancellations from other participants, I had the opportunity to participate in HOTs in laparoscopy and ureteroscopy where I could also dip my toes into the areas where I have had minimal exposure. I would really like to thank my trainers here for their patience. It was a joy to know that my training ended in a better way than it had started.
Meeting fellow residents from other nations
In the beginning, I was honestly scared to attend the programme. I thought that I may not be as up-to-date as the rest and maybe they are much better due to better opportunities or training they received. During the breaks and the evenings, it was very nice to socialize with residents from other nations who had different stories but shared a common goal: becoming a good urologist. In the end, I was glad to attend this programme despite doubting myself a little bit.
ESU Chair Prof. Evangelos Liatsikos stated that the EUREP was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for final-year residents to reach out to the presenters; receive advice in getting into fellowships for further career advancement; and socialize with other residents which helped create bonds which I aim to nurture and make them last.
It is almost impossible to be able to connect to 350 other residents in the time we were given aside from learning and preparing for the final examination, but the social activities such as the dinner, karaoke, barbeque get-together, the country/language-based dinner hosted by the professors and the nightlife in Prague gave me the opportunity to get acquainted with as many participants as possible.
The presenters were very inspiring and it was amazing to see the dynamics of their social background as well. Being trained in one country and specialising in another, this made me feel that someday I could be one of them.
Women in urology
Coming from Nepal, I never had a female urology consultant to look up to. In Germany, it was different; it was very encouraging to see many women representing urology residents from all over Europe in EUREP. From one of the presentations, I was amazed to know that there was now a female resident in paediatric urology in Turkey.
Although it felt like urology is no longer only a male-dominated specialisation, having only two female experts present their topics is a reminder that there is still a long way to go for women in urology.
I would like thank my Department Head, Dr. Martin Sommerauer, for his recommendation; the experts for their time and amazing enthusiasm of handing down their knowledge; the organising committee for their excellent work in coordinating everything and ensuring that the programme went smoothly.
I hope that the EUREP continues to enlighten and bring an equal base for urologists around the world. Afterall, we have the same goal: to help our patients in the best way possible.
Photo: Dr. Dhaubanjar guided by Assoc. Prof. Bozzini during the HOTs