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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne & Fiona

Gaining and Retaining Skills for FEES

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic the use of FEES and other close-proximity interventions with the risk of Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP) have been virtually eliminated, except for the most pressing and exceptional cases.

So, can we gain and enhance our knowledge and skills for FEES during this period?

Alvin Toffler (October 4, 1928 – June 27, 2016, American writer, futurist, and businessman) said “You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”

Achieving the big thing (the goal of providing a modern dysphagia practice) requires us to do a mix of small things (acquire new learning). This comprises practical skills and theoretical knowledge supported by personal reflection and assessment, and underpinned by prior learning and experience. Whilst we can’t currently do the endoscopic procedure for FEES with patients (or even volunteers as simulated patients) there are numerous small things that we can do, whether experienced in FEES or just starting out, to enhance our knowledge and stay current in our dysphagia practice.

Set up and enlarge your dysphagia networks including via social media. Try linking with peers in clinical practice who are incredibly generous with resources. Try a webinar or a virtual seminar. In respect of the relevant COVOD-19 check out what key opinion leaders, professional bodies and organisations, as well as the Royal Colleges are saying. And do seek out the excellent relevant information coming out of academic institutions and in-draft and peer reviewed publications.

As for the future? No crystal ball here, but there’s certainly a new community of learning to inform the diagnostics of and the interventions for the functional sequelae of COVID-19 infections.

Endoscopy may form a part of these interventions, or we may be looking at alternatives. However, by keeping sight of your goal, logging activities and continuing to acquire knowledge incrementally you can continue to travel in the right direction overall.

And for those who are already experienced in FEES, perhaps a better question is “How long will it take me to lose my knowledge and skills?”

I came across an interesting thread (link below) which threw some light on this for me.

Interesting views from a range of experts, and some reassurance. I especially enjoyed the reflections from Professor Po Chi Wu, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr Adam Knight, Associate Professor of Biomechanics and Professor Michael K. Gardner, Professor of Education Psychology.

Thanks for reading, and as always, Suzanne and I are keen to keep in touch,


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