Short courses


Basic Robotic Surgical Skills for Surgical Teams: an Introduction

  • 16 hours
  • 2 days


This two-day course for surgical teams covers the basics of robot-assisted surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System.

It'll help you and your team develop the skills you need to safely and confidently incorporate this technology into your day-to-day practice.

The course involves e-learning, face-to-face teaching, closely mentored hands-on training and interactive simulations. 

It promotes a multidisciplinary model, with active involvement and incorporation of theatre nurses, surgical care practitioners, anaesthetists and surgeons.

This short course is run by staff at UCL and UCLH (University College London Hospital). It's accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Who this course is for

This course is for surgical teams of all specialties, including:

  • surgeons - core trainees, registrars, consultants
  • nurses - scrub, circulating
  • surgical care practitioners

Course content

You'll learn about the day-to-day safe and optimal use of the da Vinci Surgical System and develop basic robotic surgical skills.

As a team, you'll develop standard operating procedures (SOP) to combat common problems encountered with the system.

You'll also learn how to recognise and deal with hazard scenarios.

The course has a separate component for surgical care practitioners (SCP), with mentored virtual reality and dry lab exercises on laparoscopic stacks. You'll also get to learn from the experiences of senior robotic nurses and SCPs at UCLH.

Teaching and structure

Before you attend the course, you'll need to complete one hour of e-learning, provided by Intuitive Surgical (the company that makes the da Vinci Surgical System).

The face-to-face part of the course involves:

  • interactive lectures
  • hand-on lab based teaching
  • interactive simulation-based teaching in teams

Assessment and certificates

Assessment involves:

  • an online test
  • an evaluation of your technical skills in a simulated environment
  • an evaluation of non-technical skills of the team in hazard scenarios

If you successfully complete the assessments you'll receive a certificate.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • understand the basic working elements of the robotic platform
  • understand the basics of safe set up and use of the da Vinci Surgical System
  • be competent in the correct technique for instrument use, handling, camera control, needle driving, suturing and dissection in virtual reality, dry and wet lab simulations
  • understand the limitations of the technology
  • recognise system errors and faults and develop an SOP for trouble shooting 
  • recognise surgical/anaesthetic emergencies and develop a protocol for emergency management
  • develop a culture of maintaining quality assurance

Costs and concessions

The fees for this course are:

  • £600 - consultants
  • £350 - junior doctors and nurses
  • £260 - members of the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT)

There is also a discount for booking as a team of at least three people - who can be consultants, nurses and/or registrars.

Course team

Senthil Nathan

Senthil Nathan

Senthil is a Consultant Urological Surgeon and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at University College Hospital, London. Along with John Wickham and colleagues from Imperial College London he developed The Probot, and carried out the first true robotic surgery in the world. He's a passionate trainer and has spent most of his life training the current and future crop of urologists in the UK and worldwide.

Professor John Kelly

Professor John Kelly

John is a Consultant Urological Surgeon specialising in robotic surgery for bladder and prostate cancer. He's the lead for the London Cancer Urology Surgery Centre and the robotic surgery programme at UCLH. John is the Professor of Uro-Oncology at UCL. He's known internationally for his pioneering work in robotic surgery and is the Director of the Chitra Sethia Minimal Access Centre at UCLH, which trains robotic surgeons from the UK and abroad.

Tim Briggs

Tim Briggs

Tim is a Consultant Urological Surgeon at UCLH. He's developed an interest in prostate cancer and bladder cancer and has used the Da Vinci Robotic System since 2010. He delivers the enhanced recovery pathway for complex pelvic surgery at UCLH and is a dedicated trainer and mentor for robotic surgery.

Greg Shaw

Greg Shaw

Greg is a robotic prostatectomy surgeon with a strong academic interest in the molecular biology of urological cancer, robotic surgery, diagnostic precision and risk stratification. He's currently the UCLH Fellowship Director and takes a keen interest in the training and progress of fellows in the unit.

Prasanna Sooriakumaran

Prasanna Sooriakumaran

Prasanna graduated from Robotic Prostatectomy and Cystectomy Fellowships at Cornell University, New York and the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, before being appointed as an Academic Consultant Urologist at the University of Oxford. In January 2017 he joined UCLH and continues to perform robot-assisted radical prostatectomy in large numbers.

Prabhakar Rajan

Prabhakar Rajan

Prabhakar underwent fellowship training in robotic surgery at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm. He's one of only a handful of academic surgeons in the UK to be awarded an RCSEng/CR-UK Clinician Scientist Fellowship in Surgery. Work in his laboratory focuses on how key genetic changes in prostate cancer cells allow them to become resistant to various treatments and spread to other parts of the body.

Ashwin Sridhar

Ashwin Sridhar

Ashwin is a Clinical Research Fellow in the Urology Department at UCLH and an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at UCL. His main interest is in clinical education and outcomes-based research for prostate and bladder cancer. He went through a mentored modular training program at UCLH and now helps deliver this training to current and future fellows.

Learner reviews

Previous attendees have said:

"Good hands-on practice, excellent."

"The mock scenarios were an eye opener. I feel much more prepared after that."

"Excellent mentoring and tips."

"This should be made compulsory for all centres wanting to start a robotic program."

"I want to come on this course again to develop my basic assisting skills."

Course information last modified: 19 Sep 2019, 10:49