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In surgical education research, enrolment of a sufficient number of surgeons is vital for the successful implementation of projects. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is conducting a multicentre project investigating the efficacy and feasibility of a simulated laparoscopic skills course—titled the Laparoscopic Simulation Skills Program (LSSP). The primary target population for recruitment to the LSSP are surgical trainees and junior doctors, yet their enrolment and participation has been low compared to other eligible groups.
It has been reported that motivators for doctors’ participation in clinical research correlates to their desire to update their own knowledge and the possibility of helping patients.1 Our project has focused on the first of these motivators and we have continuously refined communication processes to better engage, enrol and retain our target population. We describe the benefits and pitfalls of the engagement methods used by the LSSP to provide prospective researchers with strategies to improve enrolment of doctors in future research.
Strategies and implications
Initial contact has been made via Officers in Medical and Surgical Administration and Medical Education. Officers are asked to distribute (via email) recruitment information using group distribution lists.
Mass email targets large populations quickly and easily. Moreover, using formal channels can add credibility to the project.2 This method maintains the confidentiality …
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