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ESCRS OBSERVERSHIPS

Young ophthalmologists are given the chance to see senior surgeons at work outside their own country

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The ESCRS is inviting applications for its Observership Programme for young ophthalmologists who are starting or are already in surgical training. Oliver Findl, chairman of the ESCRS Young Ophthalmologists’ Committee said the observerships, now in their third year, were an important part of the ESCRS’s programme supporting trainees and residents.

“The observerships are held for one to two weeks in different European centres,” he said. “The participating centres draw up a special curriculum to give our observers the opportunities to see patients in a clinical setting," he said. “While the young ophthalmologists taking part in the programme cannot carry out surgery, they get the opportunity to see senior ophthalmologists working. The observerships also give them the opportunity to see the logistics of how an ophthalmological department is run," said Dr Findl.

Dr Findl pointed out that many young ophthalmologists will go on for further education and training outside of their own countries, which is why the ESCRS Observership Programme has been established to give them a chance early in their education to see how ophthalmology is practised in different settings. “While there are existing observership programmes in different countries, the ESCRS Observership Programme gives young ophthalmologists the chance to travel abroad and see how their colleagues in different countries train and operate,” said Dr Findl "I think this is one of the big strengths of the ESCRS, the European Union and Europe. We have different cultures and different health systems and we should try to broaden our horizons and learn from seeing other systems, other surgeons and other techniques."

Valuable experience

Dr Findl said that the Observership Programme was also a valuable experience for the centres taking part. “We got a lot of enjoyment working with the young ophthalmologist who visited our department in the Hanusch Hospital, Vienna Austria,” he said. “We organised a tour around the Department of Ophthalmology and explained the procedures, duties and purposes of every unit. In the operating room, we explained the point of each procedure and also gave the young ophthalmologist the opportunity to interpret every surgical action with the purpose of providing a holistic presentation of the surgical cases and any possible pattern in order to prevent complications,” said Dr Findl.

Grants of €1000 are available for trainees and residents living and working in Europe who wish to take part in the programme. The grants are available for residents in the second half of their training programme or fellows of age 35 years and younger that are licensed to practise and are currently subspecialising in cataract or refractive surgery. Forty grants will be awarded annually in a competitive process. Full information is available on the ESCRS website at: www.escrs.org/youngophthalmologist/default.asp

Oliver Findl: oliver@findl.at

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