Prof. Klimek, let us begin by extending our congratulations on your new chairpersonship. As you start this fresh chapter in 2024, we would like to discover more about your background in the field of medicine. Could you please tell us something about your personal path in the field of anaesthesiology and your journey at the ESAIC? What specific experiences influenced your decision to lead the Exams Committee, and how does this align with your passion for maintaining high standards in professional examinations?
Thank you for your kind congratulations! I studied Medicine in Cologne, Germany, where I also followed my residency training. In 2001, I moved to Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where I serve as the Director of the Residency Training Program and Vice-Chariman of the Department of Anaesthesiology.
I passed my own EDAIC – at that time still called DEAA – in 2002. All aspects of teaching and examining run like a red wire through my career. In Cologne, next to teaching students, I was involved in the exams for paramedics in the late 1990’s. In Rotterdam, I got involved in the Dutch National exam for the residents, and in 2013, a colleague asked me to replace her as examiner for an EDAIC part II. So, I applied, and after the assessment, I became an examiner. In retrospect, one might say, “I got infected with the EDAIC-virus” because I really embraced it, examined many exams, became a translator of questions for Part I and OLA, later chairperson of the Part II subcommittee and now Chairperson of the Examinations Committee.
Now, I hope that these years of collecting the necessary system knowledge and building a very nice network of like-minded colleagues will also help me in the new role.
The EDAIC is not only a distinguishing degree for the respective anaesthesiologist, but it is also a kind of “business card” of the ESAIC: this exam defines the level of professional knowledge and understanding that is considered European standard. And this is appreciated also outside Europe! Some institutions outside Europe make the EDAIC a prerequisite for becoming a consultant! This shows not only the level of global societal responsibility we have as examiners but also emphasises the need to maintain and further develop our high standards of the EDAIC.
As the Chair of the Exams Committee at ESAIC, what are your primary objectives, and what challenges do you foresee in promoting and delivering high-quality examinations? How do you plan to ensure the continuous enhancement of examination systems and the provision of top-notch training for future anaesthesiologists?
The EDAIC, in its current form, is a well-recognised institution where changes should be made as an evolution, not a revolution. However, we have to adapt to the dynamic field of anaesthesiology today.
The worldwide interest in the exam is huge, creating conflicting interests: we want to keep the standards high, avoid waiting lists for interested candidates, and keep the examiners motivated and qualified and the costs for the candidates acceptable – to mention a few.
On the other side, we also perform educational research on the exam / the examiners, strive for even more recognition of the exam (e.g., equivalent to a national diploma), and want to extend the languages we offer and the number of centres.
I am in the lucky situation that many friends and colleagues share my vision on these points and are willing to contribute to this further development of the exam. Also, the ESAIC staff in Brussels is very supportive! Together, we will be able to navigate this complexity.
How do you envisage aligning your role in Exams with the broader ESAIC strategy, particularly in the areas of Training, Education, and Professional Exams? ESAIC emphasises providing high-quality training and education while maintaining robust examination and certification systems. Can you elaborate on your strategy to integrate the examination process into ESAIC’s long-term goal of continually improving exams and knowledge, ensuring the production of the best future doctors in the field of anaesthesiology and intensive care?
Joana Berger is the new Chair of the Training and Education committee. We worked together very pleasantly and successfully as chairperson and deputy of the Examinations Subcommittee Part II. The trainees have already addressed some wishes like better possibilities for preparation for the exam, where we will cooperate. However, the scope is broader: topics like patient safety, ethics, communication, and professionalism in the broadest sense have to be covered better in the exam, considering their importance for daily clinical practice. Also, the challenge of examining practical clinical skills in a written and oral exam has to be addressed in the future: can we add some practical assessment?! What about re-certification of the exam after a certain period? We have enough topics to work on for the upcoming years.
Lastly, we invite you to share a personal message with our community. In your capacity as the new Chair for the exam, what message would you like to impart to them?
To the ESAIC community, I would like to convey my gratitude for the trust placed in me as the Chair of the Exams Committee. I strongly recommend attempting it to those who still need to pass the exam! Those who have already passed the exam are encouraged to actively engage in the examination process; your feedback is invaluable in shaping the future of our field. Thank you, and I look forward to our common journey of excellence ahead.
Prof. Markus Klimek (DEAA) – Chair of the ESAIC Examinations Committee