Are Short Subspecialty Courses the Educational Answer?

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Abstract

There is an urgent need to train more anesthesia providers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is also a need to provide more educational opportunities in subspecialty areas of anesthetic practice such as trauma management, pain management, obstetric anesthesia, and pediatric anesthesia. Together, these subspecialty areas make up a large proportion of the clinical workload in LMICs. In these countries, the quality of education may be variable, there may be few teachers, and opportunities for continued learning and mentorship are rare. Short subspecialty courses such as Primary Trauma Care, Essential Pain Management, Safer Anaesthesia From Education–Obstetric Anaesthesia, and Safer Anaesthesia From Education–Paediatric Anaesthesia have been developed to help fill this need. They have the potential for immediate impact by providing an opportunity for continuing professional development and relevant subspecialty training. These courses are all short (1–3 days), are presented as an off-the-shelf package, and include a teach-the-teacher component. They use a variety of interactive teaching techniques and are designed to be adaptable and responsive to local needs. There is an emphasis on local ownership of the educational process that helps to promote sustainability. After an initial financial outlay to purchase equipment, the costs are relatively low. Short subspecialty courses appear to be part of the educational answer in LMICs, but there is a need for research to validate their role.

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