TSDA Boot Camp


In 2008, TSDA launched its first Boot Camp program. This innovative program provides incoming first-year traditional and fourth-year integrated cardiothoracic surgery residents with an experiential foundation and hands-on practice in basic CT operating skills so that they are better prepared to enter the CT surgery operating room at their home programs. Training sessions include CPB skills, large/small anastomosis, bronchoscopy/mediastinoscopy, open lobectomy, aortic valve surgery, and aortic root replacement. Didactic sessions and hands-on wet labs are employed to create a realistic environment for residents to understand and practice procedures performed in the operating room.

Boot Camp program directors James I. Fann, MD (Stanford University), Richard H. Feins, MD, (University of North Carolina), George L. Hicks, Jr. MD, (University of Rochester), Jon Nesbitt, MD (Vanderbilt University), and Nahush Mokadam, MD (University of Washington) crafted a two-and-a-half day intensive course based on needs emerging in CT surgery residency programs. Residents benefit from extensive one-on-one time with the faculty, which provide advice and guidance along with the finer points of cardiothoracic surgery basics. Faculty and resident assessments are integrated into the curriculum throughout the weekend, providing valuable data on surgical skills, teaching methods, and simulator-based competencies.

The first Boot Camp was held in 2008 and has since provided programs and residents with numerous tangible and intangible benefits, including:

  • Exposure to a simulated OR environment for cardiac and general thoracic procedures facilitated by leaders in thoracic surgery education. This is particularly significant to residents whose programs do not offer this opportunity.
  • Extensive one-on-one interaction with faculty.
  • In just one weekend, resident attendees will meet their 20-hour simulation requirement mandated by the ABTS.
  • A report developed by the ABTS demonstrates that residents who attended Boot Camp are two times more likely to pass their Board exams than those who did not attend Boot Camp.
  • Past resident attendees continue to comment on the importance of Boot Camp as a networking resource for faculty and fellow residents to discuss educational and professional opportunities. TSDA continuously hears how residents continue to be in contact with other residents and faculty long after Boot Camp is over, and Boot Camp residents have returned as faculty members.

The intensive training and experiences gained at Boot Camp have resulted in extremely positive reviews by both resident attendees and faculty who volunteer their time for this important event. 2008-2015 resident survey results garnered the following data:

  • 100% of Boot Camp attendees agree that Boot Camp was time well-spent.
  • 100% of Boot Camp attendees would recommend Boot Camp to another resident.
  • An overall rating of 4.5 on a 5-point scale given to hands-on tasks in terms of helping participating residents gain skills and achieve confidence.

Click here to view a video about simulation training at the University of Washington.