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Part-time general surgical training in South Australia: its success and future implications (or: pinnacles, pitfalls and lessons for the future)

Authors


  • S. Neuhaus CSC, PhD, FRACS; E. Igras FRACS; B. Fosh FRACS; S. Benson BSSc (Psych) (Hons).

Correspondence

Clinical Associate Professor Susan Neuhaus, Department of Surgery, University of Adelaide, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Level 4, 18 North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Email: padrneuhaus@apsa.com.au

Abstract

Background

Flexible training options are sought by an increasing number of Australasian surgical trainees. Reasons include increased participation of women in the surgical workforce, postgraduate training and changing attitudes to family responsibilities. Despite endorsement of flexible training by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Board in General Surgery, part-time (PT) training in General Surgery in Australia and New Zealand is not well established. A permanent ‘stand-alone’ PT training position was established at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 2007 under the Surgical Education and Training Program. This position offered 12 months of General Surgical training on a 0.5 full-time (FT) equivalent basis with pro rata emergency and on-call commitments and was accredited for 6 months of General Surgical training. This paper reviews the PT training experience in South Australia.

Methods

De-identified logbook data were obtained from the South Australian Regional Subcommittee of the Board in General Surgery with consent of each of the trainees. Totals of operative cases were compared against matched FT trainees working on the same unit.

Results

Overall, PT trainees achieved comparable operative caseloads compared with their FT colleagues. All trainees included in this review have subsequently passed the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Fellowship Examination in General Surgery and returned to FT workforce positions.

Conclusion

This paper presents two validated models of PT training. Training, resource and regulatory requirements and individual and institutional barriers to flexible training are substantial. Successful PT models offer positive and beneficial training alternatives for General Surgical trainees and contribute to workforce flexibility.

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