Current medical students' understanding of Surgical Education and Training

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The current Surgical Education and Training (SET) programme in Australia and New Zealand has been implemented to streamline surgical training. As applications to the SET programme can occur as early as the 2nd post-graduate year, early preparation is vital to ensure a successful outcome in gaining a SET position. We wish to demonstrate to what degree medical students are aware of the SET structure and application requirements to determine if further assistance to future SET candidates is required.


A standardized questionnaire was delivered to students of an Australian Medical School via an online medium. Ethics approval was granted, and all surveys were completed anonymously and voluntarily. One hundred eighty-two completed surveys were received.


Eighteen percent of surveyed participants felt they had a good understanding of the SET programme, with 82% stating they had minimal or no understanding of the programme. Fourteen percent felt they had the information needed to pursue a career in surgery. Fifty-three percent were unaware that the College outlined areas of core competencies required in their training, with 75% unable to name any core competencies.


There are a large proportion of medical students potentially considering a career in surgery. However, only a small number feel that they have been adequately equipped throughout their medical course to understand the steps needed to build a strong application for SET.

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