Graduate Diploma in Surgical Science

Parkville — Domestic students

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Course Description

The Graduate Diploma in Surgical Science is designed for prevocational doctors who plan a career in surgery or a proceduralist speciality. The content is based on the JDocs Framework from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)(2014). Students in this course will receive formal and structured learning in the nine competencies the RACS expect of surgeons: medical expertise, judgment (clinical decision-making), technical expertise, professionalism and ethics, health advocacy, communication, collaboration and teamwork, management and leadership and, scholarship and teaching (RACS, 2012). However, the course does not confer the status/privileges of a surgeon nor does it guarantee entry to surgical training programs.

 This 2-year, part-time course will provide students with foundational knowledge and some skills relevant for entering surgical training. In particular, the course offers the theoretical background essential for practice in the nine surgical competencies. Although the course has been designed for students who are not on a surgical training program, it is also likely to be valuable to those who have recently commenced surgical training, especially the opportunity to learn about surgical research. Students will benefit from working while they are studying. Some subjects require clinical experience.

Graduates may find the formal and structured theoretical foundation in surgical competencies relevant for entering higher training in other medical specialities that are procedurally-oriented.

 The Graduate Certificate in Surgical Science is an exit point after one year of study.

 Most subjects require attendance at up to two study days and up to two webinars each semester.

 Most teaching staff are practicing surgeons from the Department of Surgery. Content experts will also contribute to the program from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, ethics, human factors, leadership and education.


Surgical knowledge:

  • Outline fundamental principles of surgery drawing on biomedical and clinical sciences
  • Describe a range of surgical presentations representing examples of trauma, sepsis, hemorrhage, malignancy and tissue ischemia and luminal obstruction
  • Describe the fundamentals of wound healing and care
  • Describe the anatomy and embryology relevant to clinical situations
  • Describe the pathophysiology of common clinical conditions
  • Describe oncological principles


Surgical skills:

  • Demonstrate a range of basic surgical skills including handling instruments, incisions, handling tissue, local anaesthetic techniques and tying sutures etc.


Surgical practice knowledge:

  • Describe core approaches to surgery – open, endoscopic/endoluminal and laparoscopic/natural orifice – and their general indications
  • Apply concepts of molecular biology to management of common conditions 
  • Describe peri-operative management
  • Discuss surgical approaches and endoscopic techniques
  • Apply principles of patient safety in surgical practice
  • Apply basic biomedical science knowledge to clinical surgical scenarios
  • Discuss the application and interpretation of imaging techniques 
  • Describe features of contemporary surgical practice from a socio-politico-economic perspective
  • Outline the nine surgical competencies and their relationship to levels of surgical training
  • Discuss the role of professionalism in surgical practice


Research knowledge and skills:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of surgical research methods
  • Discuss ethical issues in conducting surgical research
  • Develop a human research ethics proposal
  • Develop a research proposal relevant to surgical practice
  • Conduct a literature review relevant to surgical practice

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