Education in vascular surgery: Critical issues around the globe—training and qualification in vascular surgery in Europe

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In 1958, the Union Européene des Médecins Spécialistes (UEMS), or European Union (EU) of Medical Specialists the European Union, was founded by the professional organizations of medical specialists in Europe. Among the objectives of the UEMS are to promote the highest level of patient care in the EU and to promote the harmonization of high-quality training programs within the various specialities throughout the EU. Within the 38 Specialist Sections of the UEMS are the European Boards, which are the working groups of the Specialist Sections. In 2005 Vascular Surgery was recognized as a separate and independent Section, a monospecialty, within the UEMS. The efforts of the UEMS are directed at facilitating the free exchange of training and work of trainees and medical specialists between EU countries. This situation, in combination with large differences in requirements and length of training in vascular surgery within the EU, stresses the importance of harmonization in training and certification in vascular surgery within the EU. For that reason, the European Board of Vascular Surgery has organized voluntary examinations yearly since 1996. The candidates who pass qualify as “Fellow of the European Board of Vascular Surgery” (FEBVS) since 2005. The first part of the examination evaluates the eligibility of the candidate (Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training, training center, logbook). The second part is a viva voce assessment that includes (1) case analyses, (2) a review of a scientific article, (3) an overall assessment, (4) a technical skills, and (5) an endovascular skills assessment. To pass the examination, the candidates must achieve a 67% success rate in each part of the examination. During the last 10 years, approximately 75% of the candidates have successfully taken the examination. In the near future the Section and Board, in close collaboration with the vascular societies in the EU, will develop a European vascular surgical syllabus and curriculum that will further harmonize and professionalize the training and certification of vascular surgery in Europe.

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