Trainee Exchange Programme (TEP) Update

Trainee Exchange Programme (TEP) Update

  • Issue 64

Bazil Ateleanu | Chair Trainee Exchange Programme Committee
Zoka Milan, Vojislava Neskovic and Antonio Costa | Trainee Exchange Programme Committee Members

We are living in new and exciting times within Europe and the ESA.

If I would be a young anaesthetist towards the end of the training (O tempora! O mores!), I would have probably passed both parts of the European Diploma, I would probably train in one of our HVTAP-accredited Centres of Excellence, I would surely familiarise myself with our new platform of e-learning and guidelines, but mostly, I would aim to fulfil a dream: the dream of being selected for one of the highly competitive, but so promising TEP fellowships, the window for a genuine international enhancement of my knowledge.

This programme is not a ‘new kid on the block’, having been around for more than 15 years. Originally under the umbrella of the old European Academy of Anaesthesia (which has to be praised for the promotion of the immensely successful European Diploma, Hospital Accreditation, and Trainee Exchange programmes), this initiative was promoted by Prof. Drummond and continuously developed by Profs. Schuettler, Cristiansson, and Gomar. Over the years, the number of these fellowships increased gradually from 4 to 6 to 8. It is my absolute pleasure to confirm that starting in 2016, TEP Committee will increase the number of these fellowships to 10 per year.

Once selected, the fellow can choose a recognised European TEP Host Centre, where, over a period of up to 3 months, they will be trained according to the highest standards of practice, being able to master a particular skill of choice (e.g., transoesophageal echo, ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks), an anaesthetic subspecialty (e.g., liver transplant), or aim for a general enhancement of her/his clinical practice. Under current rules, a fellowship of up to 3 months will be covered by a generous grant of up to 8000 Euros offered by the ESA.

Here are some of the requirements for this fellowship: full ESA membership, age under 40, senior trainee or young specialist, fluency in the language of the host centre, and support from local hospital (full details on ESA website under Education and TEP).
The selection criteria follow these requirements, focusing on the fellow’s ideal professional age, benefit of further training for fellow and sending (‘mother’) institution, proficiency in relevant languages, personal statement aims, references quality, list of personal scientific contributions, results in EDAIC exams.

A recent survey of 24 previous fellows, subject of a future publication, confirmed our vision, clarifying the aims and development strategies of our committee.

Over the last 7 years, 57 fellows representing 16 countries trained in 21 host centres from 10 countries.

Another important task of the TEP Committee is to select European Centres of Excellence in Anaesthesia as Host Centres for our fellows.

Regarding Host Centres, our areas of interest and important selection criteria are reflected by the host standards of training and supervision, its volume of activity, the added value for the fellow in relation to specific innovative domains provided by the host, together with their work legal requirements and multi-language offer.

Over the years, many centres expressed an interest in participating as hosts for the TEP fellows. Unfortunately, years of inactivity, insufficiently attractive host centre form, change of main ESA mentors and local organisers, led to many of these centres becoming ‘dormant’ or even (in the absence of any response on several attempts of TEP contact) ‘frozen’, meaning that the respective form was removed from the TEP-related ESA webpage. As such, over the last years, an artificially inherited number of 54 hosts had to be reduced to 30 active centres. Another cause of potential TEP hosting problems are work regulations (e.g., visa, work permit, and GMC Registration in the UK) and the constant centre prioritisation of local trainees involved in a nationally-endorsed modular training (again, some UK centres).

Despite all these impediments, TEP Committee is working tirelessly to endorse the high level of training of existing centres and to carefully select exciting new centres.

It is again my greatest pleasure to announce that 8 new centres were appointed as hosts in the last year: Lyon – Croix Rousse, Madrid – La Paz, Genoa, Barcelona – Hospital del Mar, Barcelona – Bellvitge, London – King`s, London – Bart’s and Greater London West Middlesex. We are very thankful to the local mentors for the significant support provided to TEP.

It is our intention to continue to liaise closely with our sister programme, the Hospital Visiting Training and Accreditation Programme, trying to find incentives for the recently accredited European Centres of Excellence to also become Host Centres for the TEP.
In this respect, another recent victory of the TEP was the optimisation of Host Centres recognition and reward, a new future Congress travel sum of 600 Euros being added to the previously endorsed free future Congress fee for each accommodating Host Mentor.

For the future, it is our firm desire to further expand this exciting programme. A proof of our greater visibility is the increase by more than 100% in last year’s number of applicants (58 from 20-26 in previous years). Still, a specially-dedicated session/lecture on this topic (to which recent information regarding EDAIC and HVTAP could be added) at national congresses was suggested at a recent ESA Board Meeting, to be followed at the next NASC Meeting. Other future avenues of expansion include potential sponsorship from the industry and national subventions from non-European countries (e.g., China).

We would like to whole-heartedly thank the ESA Council and Board for their continuous support of the TEP. Even more, we would like to extend our warmest thanks to our Education and Training Coordinator, Ms. Anny Lam, the fulcrum of our programme, for the attentive and reliable support provided over the years.

Finally, we would like to finish by inviting young anaesthetists across Europe to consider this promising once-in-a-lifetime training opportunity.

Chief Editor’s note: In the last years the ESA Newsletter regularly hosted reports of young physicians who have been involved in the TEP project and agreed to share with our members and readers their own experience during the training period. It is our intention to continue this policy in the future and offer space to further TEP recipients.