ESA Examinations Committee report

ESA Examinations Committee report

  • Issue 74

Sue Hill

suehill2@mac.com

Before I start my report on the year’s activities in the Examinations Committee, I would like to wish everyone a Very Happy New Year. It will be a new start for the Examinations Committee as well, since I have decided to step down early in my tenure as Chairman and Dr Andrey Varvinskiy will take over the reins from January 1st 2018.

The EDAIC continues to grow: in numbers of examination centres for OLA, Part I and Part II; in number of examiners; more candidates in total – particularly an increase in the number sitting Part II. The Examinations Department has also grown and continues to support the Committee under the ever-watchful eye of Hugues Scipioni. Without such marvellous support, the EDAIC simply couldn’t exist.

In 2016 we decided that all the subcommittees needed deputy Chairmen, as the workload is growing and cannot stop if the Chairman is indisposed. The Chairmen and deputies that have worked tirelessly to develop the EDAIC examinations must be mentioned by name: OLA is chaired by Dr Armen Varosyan with Dr Nicolas Brogly his deputy; Part I is chaired by Professor Wolfram Engelhardt and his deputy in 2017 was Dr Andrey Varvinskiy; Part II is chaired by Dr Mario Zerafa and his deputy is Dr Else-Marie Ringvold. We have recently appointed Dr Tobias Bröcheler to replace Dr Varvinskiy in 2018.

What have been our achievements and developments in 2017?

The OLA exam was hosted in more centres than ever before – 96 centres in 20 countries across the world. A total of 1145 candidates took the assessment. China supported the OLA for a second year, although with fewer centres. In 2017 we were very strict over closing dates for registration of centres for OLA and several potential centres lost out because they did not complete their application in time. If you wish to host OLA beware!

The popularity of this online examination format has convinced us that it was time to bring the Part I examination into the digital age, with four pilot centres in four different countries: Yerevan in Armenia, Cork in Ireland, Msida in Malta and Ankara in Turkey. These centres were provided with hard copies of the Part I examination Papers, in case of internet connectivity failure – but none were needed! Unlike the OLA, the online version of the EDAIC Part I was split into two sessions to fit the organisation of the paper version – effectively two examinations with no immediate feedback. All these centres used hardware provided by the centre, rather than candidates’ own laptops as is the case in OLA. After a successful pilot we will be gradually expanding the EDAIC Part I in online format from 2018 and have decided that in the future, provided that improved in-built security can be achieved, candidates may complete the examination on their own laptops as for the OLA. At present there is much discussion over the future of the ITA – ideally it would be replaced by OLA, but there are arguments for running it alongside the EDAIC Part I too. For 2018 there will be no change and ITA will continue as presently.

The Part I Examination was sat in 64 centres, in 38 countries by 2424 candidates. We were delighted to open a centre in Prague last year, as this is our first centre in Czech Republic. It is a pride for the Examinations Committee to contribute to the establishment of a real educational standard across Europe, and for this reason welcoming more European countries to the EDAIC is always a special event. We also improved our offer in terms of centres in Spain with a new centre in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, which was coordinated impeccably by the local team. A growing number of non-European countries continue to support our examination; for the first time we had a centre in India in Bangalore – which was sold out on the first day of registration! Muscat in Oman also very successfully hosted candidates for the first time and we continue to build our relationship with Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia and Lebanon. The success of the Indian centre means we will increase the number of places in 2018 and will open another centre in Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh state. On this occasion and on behalf of the Examinations Committee, I would like to thank profusely the Hosts of all new and established EDAIC centres who always do their best to coordinate the examination in excellent conditions. EDAIC Hosts are key to the stability and smoothness of our examinations all around the world. Many thanks to all of them!

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Dr Nageshwar Rao, EDAIC Part I Host in Bangalore, India.

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Prof Michalek, EDAIC Part I Host in Prague, Czech Republic.

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EDAIC Part I 2017 in Muscat, Oman. From left to right: Prof Engelhardt, Examinations Subcommittee Part I Chairman; Dr Al-Ismaili, EDAIC Part I Host; Dr Al-Qassab and Dr Al-Macki, co-hosts and invigilators.

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Dr Rodríguez Fernández, EDAIC Part I Host in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The candidate who scores the highest combined mark in the Part I Examination is awarded the John Zorab Prize. I am delighted to announce that this year’s winner is Dr Petr Vrtný who is currently working in The Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the Klinikum Chemnitz, Saxony. He is of Czech nationality and qualified from Palacky University Olomouc, but has been working in Germany since 2011 and completed his specialty training in September 2017. Many congratulations Dr Vrtný, we look forward to seeing you at the Diplomates’ Ceremony at the Annual Congress in Copenhagen in 2018.

Dr Vrtný, winner of the 2017 John Zorab Prize

The predicted increase in number of applications for Part II was justified and we opened 15 centres in 2017 and the majority were fully booked. Unlike 2015 & 2016, for financial reasons we decided not to run an examination before the Annual Congress; instead we offered a second date in Warsaw. More than 1000 registrations were made and in total we examined 848 candidates.

What will 2018 bring?

For candidates, the main impetus in 2018 is to gradually move the Part I towards a real-time online examination – but recognising that there are still some centres/countries where this will not be possible – yet. As has been announced on the ESA website, Registration for Part II EDAIC will take place twice a year: once by the end of January for the examinations scheduled for the first half of the year and in June for those in the second half of the year. We hope this will reduce the number of candidates who register early for exams late in the year and then find, for a variety of reasons, they cannot attend but still forfeit their registration fee. We have also decided to strengthen the presence of the Part II examination in eastern Europe to make it more affordable in terms of travel for candidates from this part of Europe. Romania has adopted the Part I examination and we want to encourage those who have been successful to have an opportunity to take Part II in Bucharest.

For Examiners, we hope to introduce examiner training with online modules to complete for both new and experienced examiners. There will also be better feedback on performance: are you a hawk or a dove? How do you compare with your fellow examiners? We also propose a review of the current marking system for Part II vivas, which will require a new approach from all examiners. This will be incorporated into examiner training.

For the Examination as a whole, we will be taking the Part II examination away from Europe for the first time. There will be a Part II exam in Brazil right after the Paulista Congress of Anesthesiology (COPA) to be held in São Paulo Brazil in April 2018. We are delighted to work with our enthusiastic Brazilian colleagues on this project which will be repeated if it is successful as we expect.

Dr Andrey Varvinskiy will succeed myself, Dr Sue Hill, as Chairman of the Examinations Committee. I made a decision to retire from Clinical Practice earlier than I might have done and so must relinquish my role, which I have enjoyed. In my two years of office I believe I have continued to grow the EDAIC at a rate that can be supported by the resources we have. The Examinations Committee is now much more involved in many decisions that were previously the remit of the chairman alone as we now have two WebEx meetings during the year in addition to the two main meetings at Euroanaesthesia and in Brussels in October. I have been fortunate to have had such a dedicated team to work with: thank you all very much.

Dr Sue Hill,

Former Examinations Committee Chairman