The FEBOS-CR exam – A personal view

FEBOS-CR is not an exam you have to take. It's an exam you must want to take, says Sorcha Ni Dhubhghaill

Sorcha Ni Dhubhghaill

Posted: Monday, January 22, 2018

Candidates being put through their paces at the first ever FEBOS-CR examination in Lisbon, Portugal

In September of last year, I sat — and passed — the very first FEBOS-CR qualification exam. Truth be told, I initially had no intentions of sitting another exam. I remember vividly the sense of relief after passing the EBO exam. No more exams, I thought. Ever!

But the late Peter Barry changed all of that.

He told me a few years ago that they were planning another exam. A subspecialist exam with a far lower pass rate. Not an exam that everyone has to pass. But one that, by design, only few should pass.

It all sounded a little daunting to be honest, but Mr Barry — I never got over calling him by his consultant title — showed such enthusiasm for the endeavour that I came to think of it as an exam in his memory. And now, I wanted it.

To start, you have to be allowed to sit it in the first place. I submitted two surgical videos, a simple case and a complex case, and made it through. I was allowed to come to Lisbon for the exam itself.

Once I knew I was in, I hit the books. Or more precisely, I hit the ESCRS iLearn platform. It is a veritable treasure trove of expertise compiled by some of the Society’s most esteemed members. Its lessons are the perfect fodder for an all-night study binge, while its quizzes help cement your new-learnt knowledge, and build your self-confidence.

The exam itself flew by in a stressful haze. The poker-faced examiners didn’t give any indication on whether I was doing well or not. So it was a nail-biting wait until the next day when the results were announced. I passed and stood on stage as one of the first graduates of the FEBOS-CR exam. I felt honoured, but it was also a deeply emotional moment for me to pass the exam so shortly after his Mr Barry’s passing.

FEBOS-CR is not an exam you have to take. It’s an exam you must want to take. It’s not easy, nor is it supposed to be, as passing it means the ESCRS will vouch for you to be an expert in your field.

Those are powerful credentials that can open doors for you, and facilitate mobility within Europe. One day you too may want to distinguish yourself and join the ranks of the FEBOSCRs. I hope you will.

* Sorcha Ni Dhubhghaill was one of 15 awardees of the FEBOS-CR diploma. The EBO-ESCRS Examination Board would like to congratulate all awardees:

Francesco Aiello (United Kingdom)
Juan Alvarez De Toledo (Spain)
John Bolger (United Kingdom)
Burkhard Dick (Germany)
Luis Fernandez-Vega Cueto-Felgueros (Spain)
Tiago Ferreira (Portugal)
Firat Helvacioglu (Turkey)
Carlos Lisa (Spain)
Tobias Neuhann (Germany)
Sorcha Ni Dhubhghaill (Belgium)
Julio Ortega-Usobiaga (Spain)
Pantelis Papadopoulos (Greece)
Frederik Potgieter (South Africa)
Pavel Stodulka (Czech Republic)
Andrew Tatham (United Kingdom)

The EBO-ESCRS Examination Board do not prescribe recommended reading for the FEBOS-CR examination. However, there are a range of resources available from ESCRS, including the Player (surgical and interview videos), ESCRS On Demand (members only, recordings of main sessions), ESCRS iLearn (members only, interactive eLearning platform), as well as JCRS case reports and landmark journal articles. Links to all of these resources are available from

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