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Broadly speaking, as outlined in Selecting into Surgical Training (F Patterson and V Carr, December 2007), to be selected into surgery you will need to demonstrate competency in the following:

  • technical knowledge and clinical expertise and ability to apply knowledge to the investigation of problems – e.g: eliciting the necessary information from patients, identifying key issues, knowledge of appropriate options, good hand–eye coordination
  • communication skills, the ability to adapt behaviour and language to the situation– e.g: clearly expressing ideas, flexibility in communication style to suit situation
  • leadership and team involvement – e.g: positivity when dealing with problems, non-confrontational, ability to negotiate and delegate
  • judgement under pressure – e.g: remaining calm and under control, ability to compromise and knowing own limitations, ability to seek help if required
  • decision making – e.g: ability to justify decisions flexibility, considering all factors before reaching a decision
  • situation awareness, including awareness of and ability to interpret/deal with subtle changes in clinical conditions – e.g: awareness of cost and clinical value of investigations, ability to anticipate events, awareness of symptoms and signs suggesting changes to patients condition
  • problem solving – e.g: thinking around an issue, ability to prioritise thinking ahead and planning for different contingencies organisation and planning – e.g: anticipating needs for changing situations, managing time and resources well, negotiating solutions to complex and competing needs
  • professional integrity – e.g: respecting patients and colleagues, ability to admit and learn from mistakes, positivity when dealing with problems personal attributes; decisiveness, honesty, emotional stability, drive, focus and empathy
  • learning and development – eg: ability to reflect and learn from own work, to identify and fill gaps in knowledge, commitment to continuing professional development

Throughout your career, you will have opportunities to assess your progress against these criteria through 360-degree feedback, and other assessment tools, as outlined on the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP) website.

Find out how you can demonstrate these attributes.

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