Purpose: We present our experience of training residents in a weekend robotic training program to assess its effectiveness and perceived usefulness. Methods: Bimonthly training sessions were arranged such that residents could sign up for hour-long, weekend training sessions. They are required to complete four training sessions. Five tasks were scored for time and accuracy: Peg-Board, checkerboard, string running, pattern cutting, and suturing. Participants completed surveys (5-point Likert scale) regarding program utility, ease of attendance, and interest in future weekend training sessions. Results: Mean number of trials completed by 19 residents was >4, and 16 completed the trials within an average of 13.7±8.1mos. Significant improvements (P<0.05) were seen in final trials for Peg-Board accuracy (95.8% vs 79.0%), checkerboard deviation (4.8% vs 18.2%), and time (293s vs 404s), pattern-cutting time (257s vs 399s), and suture time (203s vs 305s). Time to previous session correlated with relative improvement in Peg-Board and pattern-cutting time (r=0.300 and 0.277, P=0.021 and 0.041), but no specific training interval was predictive of improvement. Residents found the course easy to attend (3.6), noted skills improvement (4.1), and found it useful (4.0). Conclusion: Training in the weekend sessions improved performance of basic tasks on the robot. Training interval had a modest effect on some exercises and may be more important for difficult tasks. This training program is a useful supplement to resident training and would be easy to implement in most programs.
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