Regional Anesthesia Fellowship

at ZOL, Genk

Regional Anesthesia Fellowship at NYSORA – CREER Center

ZOL Genk, Belgium
Fellowship Director: Prof. Dr. Admir Hadzic

Mission Statement

Our fellowship program aspires to create clinical and opinion leaders in the field of Regional Anesthesia, Ultrasonography, and Acute Pain. 


The fellowship is taking place primarily in ZOL, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Campus Sint-Jan, Schiepse Bos 6, 3600 Genk.

Genk is a town and municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg near Hasselt. The municipality only comprises the town of Genk itself. It is one of the most important industrial towns in Flanders, located on the Albert Canal, between Antwerp and Liège.

The biggest tourist attraction of Genk is Bokrijk, an open-air museum consisting of authentic relocated buildings (mainly dating from 17th till 19th century) from all over Flanders. In the summer season, historical Flanders comes alive in Bokrijk through numerous actors and re-enactment events.

Genk was established as one of the entrance “gateways” of the Hoge Kempen National Park, the first National Park in Flanders, at its opening in 2006. Also noteworthy are the old coal mines of Zwartberg, Waterschei, and Winterslag, surrounded by slag heaps, huge black mountains of dug up soil, and coal remnants. Some of the mine buildings and housing can be visited.

Despite its industrial past and present, Genk is nicknamed ‘De Groene Stad’ (The Green City). It sports a nature reserve called “De Maten”, the large recreational area Kattevennen (with the Europlaneterium), Bokrijk, and several other green areas. In sunny weather, you may also want to pay a visit to the Sundial Park (Dutch: Zonnewijzerpark). The history of the landscape painters who visited Genk between 1840 and 1940 can be discovered in the Museum Emile Van Doren.
The Europlanetarium Genk has a planetarium and observatory.

ZOL is an 800 bed, tertiary care facility with large surgical and world-renowned orthopedic surgery service. Our surgeons are some of the best in Europe and we treat a large number of professional athletes and other professionals. ZOL has a collaboration and residents exchange program with the Katholic University of Leuven (KUL), the most innovative university in Europe for 6 years in a row. ZOL is also affiliated with the University of Hasselt, its medical school University of Hasselt International postgraduate and doctorate programs. The fellows also rotate through an MZK campus.

Dr. Ana Lopez and one of our regional anesthesia fellows Dr. Evelyn Cleas performing bilateral popliteal blocks.

Why do a fellowship in regional anesthesia?

Regional anesthesia and analgesia are highly specialized in medical procedures. In particular, ultrasound-guided regional blocks require training beyond residency to acquire sufficient proficiency. Such proficiency is best acquired in a well structured and organized postgraduate fellowship training program. Qualified fellowship programs must meet standardized minimal quality and sufficient clinical and academic exposure for the fellows to assure that fellows’ investment in time results in clinical, scholarly, and teaching skills. In other words, graduating fellows should not only be capable of performing highly specialized regional anesthesia and ultrasound-guided procedures and all other aspects of the subspecialty, but also be able to engage in scientific activity, and teach others. We believe that NYSORA’s CREER Center at ZOL, Genk, Belgium is one of the best places in the world to become an expert in regional anesthesia and analgesia. Our fellowship meets and/or exceeds all requirements set forth by the SARB (Society for Anesthesia and Resuscitation of Belgium) and by the PASAR (Professional Association of Specialists in anesthesia and Resuscitation).

Clinical Caseload

Around 10,000 regional anesthetics and over 6,000 nerve blocks are performed annually at the CREER Center at ZOL, Genk, Belgium. This large volume of regional blocks assures ample exposure to a wide variety of regional anesthesia procedures, and the opportunity to learn point of care ultrasound.

Watch this cool time-lapse video that shadows our team in clinical action in just one 1/2 day and you will get a glimpse of the incredible learning opportunity in our Center.


Regional Anesthesia Fellowship FAQ.

What do the fellows' daily activities include?
  • Day to day clinical care in our busy orthopedic surgery service 
  • The teaching of assistants and nurses
  • Continuous development and update of CREER standardized regional anesthesia and fast-track protocols
  • Participation in scholarly writing, NYSORA’s textbooks, and online CME material
  • Participation in Centers of Excellence and Boot Camp teaching sessions
  • Opportunity to learn presentation, lecturing and other knowledge-transferring skills
What skills do the fellows acquire?
  • You will learn ultrasound essentials 
  • You will become an expert in ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia procedures
  • You will acquire leadership skills to be able to build a regional anesthesia and analgesia service
  • You will acquire experience in the organization and day-to-day management of a high volume orthopedic center
  • Get acquainted with time-efficient, safe, and standardized regional anesthesia protocols 
  • How to develop structured educational methods
  • Understanding of research and clinical trials
What does a fellow's regular day at CREER look like?

On a daily basis, you will participate in clinical care. All staff arrives in the clinical arena at 7:30 AM. After a brief team meeting, the fellows participate in the administration, and management of a range of orthopedic elective and emergency procedures, always under the supervision of a senior instructor. The fellows perform 5 to 15 regional blocks daily. The fellows staff their own operating room and do their own cases. The fellows are relieved during the cases to perform regional blocks in the block room in the subsequent (their own) patients. Our nerve block room is staffed by some of the most knowledgeable block nurses, who thoroughly prepare the patients and standardized equipment for each and every block. The day typically ends around 5-6 PM. The fellows are expected to prepare and see their in-hospital patients the day before surgery as well as to follow up on their hospitalized postoperative patients. The actual work and vacation schedule varies somewhat from fellow to fellow, as it can be adjusted to individual needs.

What is the duration of the fellowship?

The duration is between 6 and 12 months. The diploma of completion of the fellowship is issued only to those fellows who train for a full year. The fellows also have some exposure to the general OR to maintain their general practice skills.

On-call schedule: The fellows take approximately two-night and one weekend day duties a month – in the general operating room
Vacation: 25 working days

Block nurses and nursing education.

Our regional anesthesia nurses are simply the best. Five full-time nurses with specific training in regional anesthesia perioperative care are the heartbeat of the orthopedic CREER (Center for Research, Education, and Enhanced Recovery) Center. Their training and experience are second to none. The use of NYSORA standard procedures, regional anesthesia and block setup, postoperative pain rounds, and patient management makes our service second to none.

Joelle Caretta, Birgit Lohmar, Elke Janssen, Ine Vanweert, Kristel Broux, Ilse Cardinaels, Ingrid Jansen, Dannie Baens




Our instructors are key opinion leaders, world-renowned educators, and experienced scientists. Our team members are authors of best-selling, medical textbooks on regional anesthesia and ultrasound, which are used in universities and other fellowship programs worldwide.

Participate in the Fellowship Exchange Programs with Duke University, Durham NC.

In 2016, NYSORA EUROPE at the CREER Center, ZOL, Genk Belgium established a regional anesthesia fellowship exchange program with Duke University, North Carolina. The fellowship exchange program is enriched by the rotation of the visiting fellows at KU-Leuven. The fellows participate in clinical care observation of a variety of ultrasound-guided regional nerve blocks and the perioperative workflow. Writing “boot-camps” are organized for scientific writing. The fellows also have an opportunity to test-drive and learn from a range of NYSORA’s educational tools, such as 3-D anatomy, NSYORA SIMULATORS™, NYSORA’s Learning Management System, and others.

Duke Fellows Exchange, 2016

Educational Philosophy & Tools

This fellowship program utilizes NYSORA’s 5 step-approach to teaching.

The process involves learning the ultrasound machine, principles of ultrasound and knobology (1), acquiring hand-eye coordination on NYSORA SIMULATORS™ (2), learning ultrasound anatomy on models, patients and NYSORA SIMULATORS™ (3), principles of practice of RAPM (NYSORA textbooks, NYSORA manual, NYSORA LMS and mobile apps) (4). The rest of the learning is focussed on clinical care in patients (5) and eventually teaching others. 

Our LRA fellowship and residency programs use a range of NYSORA’s proprietary and gold-standard educational tools in order to accelerate knowledge and skill acquisition. Some of the tools include NYSORA SIMULATORS™, 3D-Anatomy, NYSORA’s digital learning platforms like the Learning Management System (LMS) and mobile apps, Orthopedic Anesthesia Boot Camps & Centers of Excellence workshops, the NYSORA Manual of Regional Anesthesia Procedures, and NYSORA’s standard textbooks.


Recent NYSORA Fellowship Alumni