Publications | May 14th, 2024

Cross-national standards improve training in neonatal medicine

The European School of Neonatology (ESN) has developed a new standardised training programme

Children who are born prematurely or with an illness require particularly comprehensive intensive medical care. Neonatal medicine, also known as neonatology, is a specialised field of paediatrics and adolescent medicine that focuses on the care of the youngest of the young. To ensure the best level of care, the medical field requires standardised and verifiable training standards. These new standards have been developed by the European School of Neonatology (ESN) in accordance with the European Training Requirements (ETR) and will be implemented in the future as part of a new European Master's programme in neonatology.

The ESN acts as the educational arm for neonatal medicine of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR). Prof Dr Sven Wellmann, ESN Chairperson and Chief Physician of the Department of Neonatology at the Perinatal Center Regensburg, Hospital St. Hedwig of the Order of St. John, University of Regensburg, Germany, is proud of the new and innovative Master's programme: "This is a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to harmonise and thus improve standards for neonatal care across Europe. The ESN MAS curriculum expresses our commitment to excellence in medical education and training, which ultimately benefits newborns and their families."

An international committee of doctors, nurses, and researchers in paediatric and adolescent medicine with a focus on neonatology (EAP and ESPR) and the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) has published two articles on the necessity and implementation of standardised training in neonatology. The first article, published in the journal "Neonatology" with the title "European Training Requirements in Neonatology 2021: The ESPR, EAP, and UEMS Accredited European Syllabus for Neonatal Training", underlines the commitment of the ESN to establish Europe-wide recognised training standards.

The second article entitled "Meeting the Need for Effective and Standardised Neonatology Training: A pan-European Master's Curriculum", published in "Pediatric Research", summarises the requirements and principles of the new curriculum. Based on the latest ETR version approved by the Union of European Medical Specialists (UEMS) in April 2021, this curriculum aims to provide a model for effective and standardised training in neonatal medicine

The new neonatology curriculum is based on historical evidence and contemporary educational theory. It incorporates best practices from medical education, the European paediatric training framework and evidence-based assessment systems. As a result, the ESN offers a standardised, empirically supported training programme for physicians and, in the future, for nurses as well, which will sustainably optimise the care of all newborns.

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