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ANZ J Surg. 2008 Apr;78(4):282-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2008.04439.x.

Novel method for assessment and selection of trainees for higher surgical training in general surgery.

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National Surgical Training Centre, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.


The aim of the study was to select surgeons for a higher surgical training in general surgery programme at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) using an objective, transparent and fair assessment programme. Thirty-two individuals applied for higher surgical training in general surgery in Ireland in 2006. Sixteen applicants were short-listed for interview and further assessment. All applicants were required to report on their education performance at undergraduate level and their postgraduate professional development. Applicants were scored on their training record during basic surgical training, structures references, clinical experience, approved technical skills courses, validated logbook and consolidation sheet. Assessments of their research and academic surgery included, the award of a higher degree by thesis, and other surgically relevant degree's or diplomas that had been obtained through part-time studies and were awarded by educational establishments recognized by RCSI or the Irish Medical Council. Short-listed applicants completed validated objective assessment simulations of surgical skills, an interview and assessment of their suitability for a career in surgery. The nine individuals who were selected for higher surgical training in general surgery consistently scored higher than those candidates who were not, in post-graduate development (P < 0.001), surgical skills (P < 0.002), interview scores (P < 0.007) and suitability for a career in surgery (P < 0.002). All performance assessment elements except undergraduate education showed high internal reliability alpha = 0.89 and good statistical power (range 0.95-0.99). The statistical power of undergraduate education was 0.7. The objective assessment programme introduced by RCSI for selection of candidates for the programme in higher surgical training in general surgery reliably and consistently distinguished between candidates. Candidates selected for further training consistently outperformed those who were not in good concordance between measures. This common selection process for higher surgical training is now being rolled out for selection into higher surgical training across all surgical specialties in Ireland.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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