Report from Natasha Amiraraghi MBChB, DOHNs, FRCSEd (ORL-HNS), AMTF in Cochlear Implant and Skull Base Surgery, Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, UK
The 28th Annual North American Skull Base Society (NASBS) Meeting took place in Loews resort, Silver Strand Beach, Coronado, California. With the theme 'Dynamic mentoring of the skull base surgeon: Training our future', the meeting extensively covered emerging developments in skull base surgery in addition to highlighting the importance of mentorship, teaching and training.
Current president Dr Ian J Witterick introduced us to his mentors – Dr Patrick Gullane, Dr Fred Gentili and Dr Peter Neligan. With over 700 multidisciplinary delegates, a popular pre-meeting dissection course, meningioma education day and a three-day conference; inclusive of hot topics, video sessions, expert debates and a fantastic schedule in the 'Rhoton' room in celebration of the life of the inspirational Dr Al Rhoton, describing detailed instruction on specific surgical approaches – this was the biggest NASBS Meeting so far!
The programme covered all aspects of lateral and anterior skull base, the importance of working in a balanced multidisciplinary team and mentorship tips. Essentially there was something for everyone. Some important themes in the topic of training included active encouragement of trainees, becoming a master in one’s own field before being a mentor, being enthusiastic, addressing any hurdles – such as imposter syndrome or poor performance – head on, and remembering to 'catch them doing something right'; highlighting the importance of reflecting on good performance, as well as improving poor performance.
As if this wasn’t enough, there were special sessions including 'Women in skull base surgery', 'Mentorship: why, how and when?' and 'Certification of the skull base surgeon'. On Saturday afternoon, 'Skull Base Jeopardy' made for some light entertainment and quick revision! Team 'Heal with steel' showed how to win in style – by 1 point.
And finally in addition to the plethora of educational sessions there were numerous networking opportunities with a welcome reception and poster viewing, new member reception and ‘Beach Blowout’ on the silver strand.
This well-organised, comprehensive and educational meeting with high profile presenters will undoubtedly be a hard act to follow, with delegates achieving their learning and socialising goals in one jam (or should I say jello?) – packed President’s day weekend!