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October 2nd, 2017

Q&A with Cook Vista faculty, Dr. David van Dellen

Dr. David Van Dellen, Cook Vista faculty surgeon

Dr. David van Dellen, consultant transplant surgeon at Central Manchester University Hospitals, has been involved in Cook Vista as a faculty and delegate for four years. Although he has been involved in similar courses led by others in the industry, he says Cook Vista product-training courses are different.

“This is a course that I’m very proud to be involved in as I am confident that it delivers a safe, robust message,” says Dr. van Dellen.

The Cook Vista training and education courses available to surgeons are tiered. The Foundational-level courses are available to those with a basic understanding of the subject matter. Attendees can then move on to Refinement-level courses and Mastery-level courses, which increasingly go deeper into the procedures and related Cook products.

We asked Dr. van Dellen about his experience as a Cook Vista faculty surgeon. Below, he discussed the structure of the program and his pathway to becoming a speaker.

 How and why did you first become involved with the Cook Surgery Vista Program?

Dr. van Dellen: I first attended a course in 2013. It was an opportunity to look at the choices involved in utilizing biological mesh and, more importantly, the techniques that are essential to understand and develop an abdominal wall reconstruction (AWR) practice. I have said on a number of occasions subsequently that this was perhaps one of the best courses that I have attended either as a trainee or consultant. The skills learned and the design of the course were unparalleled. It fundamentally changed my approach to AWR, which has become the largest single part of my elective surgical practice.

I was also particularly impressed by the ethical approach that a commercial company took to the whole process. What impressed me from the start was the fact that the driver for the course genuinely appeared to be educational. It was clear that the focus is predominantly on improving surgeons’ practice with Cook Medical’s products rather than driving a commercial agenda. I think that this maintains the integrity both of the products and, more importantly, for the educational events themselves.

The lab facilities themselves are always of very good quality. An ongoing challenge is to ensure that the European market (not just the UK) is engaged-I think this is a potential area for development and an area that I would be keen to be involved in going forwards. I am aware that there is a possibility that the structure is changed and I would strongly feel not to alter a model that is consistently successful, safe, and popular with delegates.

What was the process for becoming a speaker with Cook Vista?

Dr. van Dellen: Julie, Cook Vista’s surgical training manager, was aware that I had an interest in education. She approached me to become involved in the process and to initially speak at a Foundational-level event in Manchester. This provided a valuable opportunity to understand the fundamentals of Cook Vista’s educational approach of the courses but also enabled Julie to assess my teaching aptitude. I then had the opportunity to observe the theoretical aspects of a Refinement-level course whilst providing practical teaching. This ensured that I was comfortable with the techniques prior to having to deliver the course. In addition, there has been support to graduate through the various aspects of the courses in terms of material delivered. The material has been stimulating to me but also ensures that I am comfortable with the content that I am delivering.

Cook Medical has also provided the opportunity for me to gain educational insights through a Mastery-level course (as part of a dedicated faculty course) to improve my exposure to and knowledge based in more advanced techniques. This, in turn, has improved my educational skills and supported my development as part of the faculty on Cook Medical courses.

What are your thoughts on the development of our program levels for AWR?

Dr. van Dellen: The courses are structured in a way that there is something that can be offered at each level (be it entrance level or ultimate refinement level.) The feedback that I get suggests that the content of the course is relevant. We are able to provide instruction to candidates at an appropriate level.

In addition, it appears that Cook Vista’s teams on the ground pay attention to the local areas to ensure that candidates are attending the courses relevant to their areas of expertise. This maximizes what each candidate can gain from the courses. Most importantly, it ensures that the material is not delivered to people that might not be in the position to safely deliver the care that is being taught.

You have encouraged many of your trainees to attend our Foundational-level courses.  What value do you think we bring to the trainees?

Dr. van Dellen: The trainees give consistently positive feedback on the courses that they attend. This course is immensely valuable as it provides a theoretical background in terms of the thinking behind decision making in AWR, coupled with an opportunity to assess and practice skills involving Cook Medical products. The feedback has been uniformly positive in terms of what the course delivers and the value to their practice.

Attend a Cook Vista training course.

The first step to becoming a Cook Vista speaker or faculty is to attend a Cook Vista product-training course. Check the current schedule to look for a Cook Vista event near you.

Dr. David van Dellen is a paid consultant of Cook Medical.