ESRA Residents & Trainees Workshop

Report on RAUK Educational Grant.


This summer, I joined a small cohort of junior anaesthetists who underwent a rewarding initiation into regional anaesthesia through a heady mix of hands-on practical workshops, cadaver work and high-fidelity simulation. I struggle to envisage a more potent recipe to prepare trainees for their tentative first steps into a part of anaesthetic training that can, to the uninitiated, seem daunting and abstruse.  

Set in Porto (so on trend right now!), the workshop is kindly hosted by the city’s university over the course of two days.  We explored the relevant anatomy on neatly dissected cadavers under the tuition of ESRA instructors and examiners, an inspiring bunch who enthused passionately about their field and who expertly expunged any lingering uncertainly or confusion.

We were given plenty of supervised ultrasound scanning time with live models, the faculty providing plenty of top tips and aide memoirs that have made the subsequent transition from classroom to block room that little bit smoother.

My personal highlight was the simulation session.  We were given opportunities to both participate as well as observe colleagues via video-link in several scenarios that ranged from managing a peripheral nerve catheter that was not providing sufficient analgesia through to managing a total spinal following an epidural top-up. These experiences cemented bonds within the group as we forged small clinical teams, problem-solved in rapidly evolving situations, and shared observations, stories and the odd nugget of advice.

Delegates travelled from across Europe and as far as Canada to attend the course.  I really valued the opportunity to learn about the training experiences of my fellow delegates; so much so that many of these discussions flowed late into the night.

The course is good value at 200 for the two days.  Porto is one of western Europe’s more affordable major cities.  I owe a special thank you to RA-UK.  They offer an annual award which provides one trainee with £500 to cover the costs of attending the course. I recommend applying for this.    

Dr Hywel Evans, University Hospital Wales.