Open Access Research article

Medical interns' knowledge and training regarding urethral catheter insertion and insertion-related urethral injury in male patients

Manuel Manalo1, Marie Carmela M Lapitan12 and Brian S Buckley3*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines, Manila

2 National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines, Manila

3 Department of Surgery, Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines, Manila

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:73  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-73

Published: 27 September 2011



Improper catheterization can lead to urethral injury. Yet research from four continents suggests training of junior doctors in catheterization is insufficient. European research suggests a majority of catheterization related morbidities occur when the procedure is performed by interns.


To assess the knowledge and practices of medical interns relating to urethral catheterization and iatrogenic urethral injury secondary to traumatic catheter insertion, a questionnaire survey was conducted of all first year medical interns at a tertiary national university hospital in the Philippines. The questionnaire contained 17 items covering 4 areas: methods of training in catheterization and level of experience; perceived adequacy of training; theoretical knowledge of catheterization; the mechanisms of catheter-related urethral injury.


225/240 interns (94%) completed the survey (130 (57.8%) female). 125 (55.6%) responded that they had adequate theoretical training and 150 (66.7%) adequate practical training. All had performed more than 10 catheterizations and 204 (90%) were supervised when they first performed catheterization. Despite relatively high levels of experience and confidence, deficits were identified in detailed knowledge of correct catheterization procedures and of risks associated with urethral injury.


More thorough training of incoming medical interns in urinary catheterization may help to reduce the risk of complications and injury. Training should be universal and thought given to its timing within the curriculum. Training should include step by step instruction in the process, emphasis on history taking and awareness of factors associated with increased risk of urethral injury.

urinary catheterization; education; medical; injuries; urethral