Surgical training has a variety of work to get involved in as well as having many sub-specialties within it. The field is constantly advancing with the use of robotic surgery etc. and is certainly a specialty that those who like visual elements to their work, will enjoy. In this article, we discuss surgical training including how you can apply and how to put in a competitive application.
There are so many reasons! Some of these include:
- Short ward rounds. You get to wear scrubs! Lots of practical procedures and seeing real life anatomy.
- Lifelong learning
- Always a new skill to learn
- Simulated learning as well as real life
- Variety of work (ward/theatre/clinic). Huge scope of practice (lots of specialties to work in, including a variety of ages).
- Can have a good work life balance (if you pick a sub-specialty with less on call commitments). There is increasing flexibility in training (less than full time i.e. LTFT).
- Team working – multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach used: Can work in leadership roles and there can be huge diversity when working in teams.
- Huge impact on patients’ lives:
- Patient can wake up and problem be ‘fixed’. You have immediate results and it can be very rewarding!
- Innovative – good use of evolving techniques
- Robotic surgery, 3D printing etc…
- Core surgical training
- Two-year programme, where you work in a range of specialties
- Can be ‘themed’ or ‘un-themed’ (matched to a specialty or not)
- Following CT1 and CT2, you will then apply for specialty training
- Improved surgical training
- Run through programmes ST1-ST8 as long as meets competencies
- Currently pilots in: ENT/T&O/Gen surg/vascular/urology
- Will have to re-apply if wanting to change specialties
How to build your portfolio
- Download portfolio requirements early and start completing points (it’s never too early)
- Show people you are keen and they will be willing to teach you
- It does take time to build your portfolio, so everything you do, make sure you collect evidence for it at the time
Commitment to surgery
|MRCS Part A||Prepare for exams (the earlier you do them after medical school, the easier!) Pick a quiet rotation (e.g. GP/psych and spend 3-4 months studying). Just booking the exam will score you some points.|
|Surgical courses||Must attend at least 2 for maximum points (provide attendance certificate). Can cost a lot of money – use courses that will be useful in future, like ATLS/BSS (requirement CST2). Free courses: national catheter education programme.|
|Surgical experience||Log cases: Sign up to E-log book (free) and log everything you see. Near your interview, download the summary page (with no patient information) and get your supervisor to sign it.|
|Surgical taster||Must be at least 4-5 days, with a reflection to maximise points. There are no points for working in a surgical rotation, so don’t worry if you are not allocated a surgical job.|
|Surgical elective||Must have evidence and reflection. Try to write reflections at the time.|
- Run nationally via Oriel, interviews in London (these were completed remotely on zoom in 2021)
- Application made of three parts (each equally [1/3] weighted)
- Combined score used to rank candidates
We hope you found this article useful and wish you every success with your application!
- The Royal College of Surgeons of England
- The Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT)
- National Catheter Education Programme
- E-log book
Written by Roisin Johnson (CST1)
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