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Professional Development

On the 8th and 9th of October, the joint training centre of Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) and Latvia University of Agriculture (LLU), Doctors Safe Train, hosted a training session for paediatric surgeons in minimally invasive surgery, headed by highly-regarded European surgeons. The session, which was attended by paediatric surgeons from diverse European countries, involved live tissue training, thus approximating it to real life situations. The training session was aimed at the improvement of the participants’ laparoscopic surgical skills and their ability to perform video-assisted thoracic surgery procedures.

RSU Rector, professor and surgeon Jānis Gardovskis welcomed the participants of the training session and emphasised his appreciation of the fact that, during the three years of its existence, the joint training centre has been able to take a successful development path and become the leading centre of this type in the Baltic region.


J. Gardovskis noted that “the availability of such centres is of utmost importance for the acquisition and improvement of surgical skills”, explaining that initially surgical skills are acquired at RSU Medical Education Technology Centre on special 3D surgical training devices and simulators, whereas the specialised training centres offering live tissue training enable safe acquisition of special surgical skills for uncommon and complex surgical procedures.

"RSU has developed a world-class infrastructure for the improvement and acquisition of surgical skills for future and existing specialists. Only then do we enter the operation rooms, assisting and undergoing surgical procedures under the supervision of experienced surgeons.” 

The training session at Doctors Safe Train in the city of Jelgava was led by an experienced and highly recognised British paediatric surgeon, Professor Amulya K. Saxena. He is the Executive Board Member, Chairman of the Education Office of the European Association of Pediatric Surgeons and the pediatric surgeon at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. When greeting the participants, Professor Saxena expressed gratitude to both universities and organisers of the event for the opportunity to participate in the training session.

"In recent years considerable efforts have been made to reduce the gap between the professional competencies of paediatric surgeons from the East and the West, considering that such training sessions in Europe are commonly rather expensive,” he noted by adding that this has been his fourth visit to Rīga and that he is really pleased that such a centre is now available also in the Baltic region. Laparoscopic surgery is constantly evolving, which makes the possibility of enhancing one’s competency and participation in training sessions, e.g. by observing the movements of one’s hands during the surgical procedure, a vital component of professional development. Training sessions which last throughout the entire day, or several consecutive days, are comparatively rare, in most cases those are individual lectures – therefore the training session offered by Doctors Safe Train is of huge importance and is an immeasurable contribution to surgeons’ professional development. Professor Saxena also highlighted the importance of the acquisition and improvement of surgical skills, despite the fact that multiple surgical manipulations are currently all available on YouTube.


Doctors Safe Train board members, paediatric surgeons Olafs Volrāts and Ilona Bundze-Zdanovska, who were the organisers of the training session, noted that the purpose of the training was to reproduce the conditions of a real operating room during a surgical procedure. The training took place on five surgical tables under the supervision of the invited professionals. To recreate the training, making it as close to real life as much as possible, two anaesthesiologists were also involved.

The Doctors Safe Train training centre is an outstanding example of success resulting from the efforts and immense contribution by two universities – RSU and LLU. For more details on Doctors Safe Train click here.