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RCS Education Standards

Providing a quality mark for surgical education

The RCS England’s standards for quality assurance and accreditation of surgical education

The Royal College of Surgeons of England’s process of quality assurance requires that its standards, which should be measurable, are shown to be met by a particular educational activity or event. Where the College has confidence that its standards have been met, the activity / event will be accredited or approved, and awarded an appropriate number of CPD points if required.

The standards broadly reflect the domains for individual surgeons and their practice as set out in Good Surgical Practice (RCS: 2014). These standards are expressed in the context of the mission statement of the College’s Quality Assurance and Accreditation Department, which has responsibility for managing the quality assurance and accreditation process for educational activities or events which are provided by the College or for which the College’s accreditation or approval is sought:

‘to assure and enhance the up-to-date education and professional development of surgeons and allied professionals to advance standards of surgical care, promoting where possible collaborative teamwork, trust, and patient safety’

A key focus of the standards is that the education provider clearly sets out appropriate learning outcomes to be achieved by the learner. The achievement of these outcomes is then evaluated through the use of our participant feedback questionnaire, which has been developed in line with our standards. The application of the standards may vary according to the nature of the educational activity or event being provided – particularly whether it is delivered face-to-face or online.

Domain 1: Knowledge, skills and performance

The education provider should ensure that the educational activity / event should:

1.1 have clearly defined learning aim/s which reflect the overall purpose of the activity;

1.2 have a clear and appropriate structure and content;

1.3 have a delivery methods and a learning environment which are appropriate to the achievement of the learning outcomes;

1.4 have supporting information and material which are clear, relevant and accessible;

1.5 have clear and measurable learning outcomes, expressed in terms of the specific knowledge, skills and behaviours that can be demonstrated by participants;

1.6 provide the educational support and learning resources to enable the participants to achieve the required learning outcomes;

1.7 have faculty with appropriate qualifications and experience to deliver the activity / event;

1.8 have, where appropriate, methods of assessment to support participants’ development and / or demonstrate that they have achieved their learning outcomes.

1.9 have an appropriate proportion of faculty to participants to enable successful learning by participants;

1.10 have suitable equipment to enhance learning.

Domain 2: Safety and quality

The education provider should ensure that the educational activity / event should:

2.1 ensure that suitable administrative contact is made with participants, and have an efficient and transparent administrative process;

2.2 demonstrate a continuous quality enhancement process, including opportunities for participant and faculty feedback;

2.3 comply with relevant regulatory and legislative requirements.

Domain 3: Communication, partnership and teamwork

The education provider should ensure that the educational activity / event should:

3.1 be inclusive and equitable, allowing - where appropriate - dialogue between faculty and participants.

Domain 4: Maintaining trust

The education provider should ensure that the educational activity / event should:

4.1 not be inappropriately influenced or biased by commercial organisations in its content or organisation;

4.2 provide the opportunity for faculty to declare any financial or other interest related to the educational activity / event.


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