EUSP scholarships (Scholarships – Uroweb) are amazing opportunities to join the day to day O.R. life of the surgeons we see perform live at EAU events. The learning process has so many branches and subtilities in this kind of experience that it is hard to summarize it in a blog post.
I consider my stay at SLK Kliniken in Heilbronn an intense training in Da Vinci XI robotic radical prostatectomy and retroperitoneal laparoscopic kidney surgery, under the mentorship of Prof. J. Rassweiler and Prof. Ali S. Gözen. It is extremely important in our training as residents to be exposed to high quality surgery as the surgical movements will slowly impregnate in us. Each dissection or intra operatory decision will stay with us in the background and resurface when the moment to stay at the console will come.
Prof. J. Rassweiler is one of the pioneers of minimal invasive surgery and made me fall in love with radical prostatectomy. Me and my colleagues – we were privileged to be his last fellows and scrub with him in surgeries that were performed excellent after a lifetime of experience. Each surgery was a lesson of vision, talent, unbelievable hard work and restlessness for efficacy and perfection. Prof. Gözen was the main leading surgeon that mentored us and the one who introduced me to retroperitoneal laparoscopic kidney surgery – I understood that there is a place for retroperitoneal approach, even if it is more difficult due to the small dissection space. Also, the correct anatomic dissection in pelvic lymphadenectomy (radical prostatectomy) and other surgical techniques will stay with me long time. I was amazed by how calm, patient, friendly and didactic a surgeon can be, no matter the prolonged working schedule or our lack of experience as trainees. There was always a smart and warm answer to the questions the fellows had. I hope I learned his patience, how to standardize surgical steps and know the reason behind them, to not rush and own my surgical decisions and movements. Filtering everything is the key to upgrading. Radical prostatectomy was by far my favourite surgery, performed by either of them. Even more, being exposed to different robotic techniques – ascending/ descending or mixed, Retzius sparing (Dr. Hatiboglu) and to different leading surgeons sometimes even in the same day, offered us a comprehensive experience of the anatomy and the surgical treatment.
This experience was a privilege of mentorship shaping the core of our surgical training with great networking opportunities. It made me think about what kind of surgeon I am becoming and realise how the vision and effort of some people shaped the development of what we are learning and practicing today. It made me think about the context of our work – the medical system, available resources, the power of networking, the needs of a trainee, the continuous training/ development that is required and the power of teaching and mentorship. I realised how important it is to seek excellence, be exposed to it and even more, to people that can teach it. Passing forward the surgical skill in minimal invasive surgery without compromising the quality of the surgical act is a mixture of art and passion that fuels an incredible amount of hard work.
Surgery is centred on our patients, but how we perform it is connected to our effort to learn and improve, to the impact we have on or from our colleagues and the legacy that is left behind by the greatest. My friends, search for EAU Fellowship centres and apply for a Scholarship experience, search for highly experienced mentors and join HOT, even try to create a Lab room in your hospital for laparoscopic training!
My stay in Heilbronn coincided with CEM Central European Meeting in Vienna (Central European Meeting (uro-cem.com) and the BPO Masterclass (ESU-ESUT Masterclass on Operative management of benign prostatic obstruction – ESU Masterclasses (uroweb.org) – other amazing opportunities for hands on training, tips & tricks sessions combined with State of the Art lectures and Live surgery. I recommend all my colleagues to join it and other Masterclasses!
As life offers us surprises, Urotech reunited both of my teams from Cluj and Heilbronn in Istanbul – this time suit and tie dressing code (The latest in technology for urology – UROtech22 (uroweb.org)). Another experience that cannot be missed by the urologists passionate about surgery and technology!
Thank you, Heilbronn, for everything I learned and I am sure I will meet all my colleagues again on the stage of EAU events – Samet, Javid, Aykut, Seyda, Victor, Daniela, Rodolfo, Walter – good luck, my friends, and thank you for the beautiful moments we shared- drinking Cayi and hacking that perineal push!
Dear Prof. Gözen, Heilbronn was sweet because of the Kadaif flavour, thank you for taking care of us, both in the O.R. and outside of it. Even more important, I thank my mentor back home – Dr. Bogdan Petruț- for guiding me towards this experience!