Context: The aims of surgical education, training and professional development programmes are to ensure surgeons will provide high quality health care throughout their professional lives. Development and delivery of these programmes requires a mixture of surgeons with a different but complimentary range of competencies in medical education, all eager to facilitate learning and support educational scholarship.
Methods: The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has undertaken a major review of the challenges, risks and opportunities surrounding the development and delivery of its education and continuing professional development programmes.
Results: Conflicting demands on surgeons' time have compromised their availability for educational activities. At the same time, a decline has occurred in the recognition and value of teaching and educational scholarship as a consequence of financial rewards and prestige now coming principally from patient care and biomedical research. New educational methods have been introduced which have added to the complexities involved and the level of commitments required. In response, the College and its surgical specialty partners have established an Academy of Surgical Educators as a resource for the nine specialties of surgery. It will promote high quality patient care by providing expert educational leadership, guidance and advice and through the advancement and application of educational scholarship.
Conclusion: The establishment of the Academy serves as a powerful symbol of the importance the College places on its core responsibility as an educational body. Working in association with the University Departments of Surgery throughout Australia and New Zealand, the Academy will better equip the College and its partner Specialist Societies and Associations to meet and sustain the increasingly sophisticated requirements involved in higher education.