Dr. Michal Smolski, Manchester (UK): An excellent training for young urologists.
I am on the urology residency in the North West of England. Trainees in the UK are encouraged to apply for the EUREP course as it has a reputation of being an excellent resource for residents preparing for urology exit exams.
To secure a place on the course one should apply literally as soon as application for the programme opens. Since acceptance is not guaranteed one can increase the chances by securing EAU membership which you need before the registration deadline. It is also worth getting some CME credits by completing European Urology on-line reading and associated MCQs. Priority is given to fi nal-year trainees and those with a good command of English as the course is run in English (apart from karaoke night).
Selection results are available a few months before the course, leaving more than enough time to prepare for the course. Successful applicants will receive presentations from previous years to help them prepare for the course. To those who are interested, hands-on training courses are available during EUREP. Having fi rst-hand experience, I must praise both tutors and equipment for the high quality. I have to mention that the course is free. EAU, with the generous help of sponsors, cover the costs of more than 300 participants and faculty.
On arrival I was pleasantly surprised that the venue was a four-star hotel in Prague – a city renowned for its heritage with a modern vibe. With its continental climate, Prague can get warm with daytime temperatures in September reaching around 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. Nights are colder and a jacket or a warm jumper is a must. Rain is not unusual. I have been lucky with good weather throughout the duration of the course.
I arrived a day before EUREP started and the EAU reception desk was already open for registration where I received a warm welcome and all relevant instructions regarding the course. I was impressed. During the course, a small EAU administrative team was working tirelessly to ensure all 360 participants were well looked after.
What makes this course unique are the faculty and participants. The faculty are world renowned urologists in their sub-specialties. Participants are young aspiring urologists who hopefully soon will become urology specialists. The lectures were far from being dry didactic talks. Discussions were getting heated at times and even lecturers admitted to learn from the participants. The course covered most of the urology curriculum with the material divided into fi ve themed modules. For the faculty to deliver that huge amount of information, lectures were fast paced but with a suffi cient balance of didactics and interactivity. Course handouts allowed for additional notes and remarks and helped the participants to follow the presentations.
Social media is becoming increasingly popular among junior and senior urologists. Twitter turned out to be very popular among the participants and faculty. During EUREP tweets were used to send important organisational information, succinct session summaries, key slides or even interesting videos. Twitter also provided a platform to allow easy communication with fellow participants. EUREP received the offi cial hashtag #eurep2015 and 1598 Tweets were generated during the whole course. Many new people joined Twitter #conversion and on one of the last #eurep2015 snapshot photo tweets, we saw a course participant explaining to faculty members the nuances of Twitter.
EUREP is not only about urology but also about gaining new friends. Karaoke is the main social event during EUREP allowing participants to spend time together in an informal atmosphere. Prague is renowned for its beer and during karaoke night I had the opportunity to verify it. Apparently the karaoke contest had always been dominated by our Italian and Spanish colleagues. Indeed their spontaneous joyful performance was truly genuine!
Overall, EUREP is a unique opportunity not only to acquire knowledge required for the exam but also a chance to meet fellow colleagues from all over the world, exchange opinions and enrich ourselves with new experiences. I am thankful to the EAU for the wonderful opportunity they provided to urology residents and to the faculty for their efforts to teach us in an informal atmosphere.
Dr. Michal Smolski, Christie Hospital, Foundation NHS, Trust, Manchester (UK).