Master of Surgical Science

3 years part-time, Parkville — Domestic students

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Aspire to a career in surgery? It’s in your hands

The new Master of Surgical Science has been specifically designed for prevocational doctors aspiring to a career in surgery. Offering a choice of proceduralist speciality, the course content is based on the JDocs Framework from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS 2014).

Course Description

Transition to surgical training

Taken part time over three years, the Masters of Surgical Science will equip you with the foundational knowledge and relevant skills necessary to enter surgical training. In particular, the course offers the theoretical background essential for practice in the nine surgical competencies required by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

Formal and structured learning in nine RACS competencies* 

  • medical expertise
  • judgment (clinical decision-making)
  • technical expertise
  • professionalism and ethics
  • health advocacy
  • communication
  • collaboration and teamwork
  • management and leadership
  • scholarship and teaching

*RACS 2012, does not confer status/privileges of a surgeon or guarantee entry to surgical training programs

Designed for students enrolled or still considering surgical training

Specifically designed for students not already enrolled in a surgical training program and those who have recently commenced surgical training, the Master of Surgical Science provides the ideal platform to complete a research project and maximise the benefits of combining work with formal study.

Please note, some subjects require clinical experience.

Multiple pathways to training in surgical and other medical specialties  

The course structure of the Master of Surgical Sciences has been specifically designed to provide students with a tiered qualification structure. After one year, students can exit with a Graduate Certificate in Surgical Science and after two years, with a Graduate Diploma in Surgical Science.* Or you can continue on to complete your Masters program. 

Most subjects, across all programs, require attendance at up to two study days and up to two webinars each semester.

The formal and structured theoretical foundation in surgical competencies covered in each of these stages of the Surgical Science courses are relevant for entering higher training in other medical specialities that are procedurally-oriented.

Learn from renowned experts in the field  

Teaching staff include practicing surgeons from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Surgery, with content experts also contributing from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, ethics, human factors, leadership and education.

Master of Surgical Science policy for advanced standing or recognition of prior learning  

If a course applicant has undertaken Critical Literature Evaluation and Research (CLEAR) within the last 5 years, they may be eligible for credit towards the subject - Surgical Research 1 (12.5 points) if they can provide:

·      Evidence of a full paper that is peer reviewed, published and on a surgical practice topic within 3 years of their application to undertake the subject

·      Statement of contribution to the research above and signed by their supervisor and/or co-author/s

If a course applicant has undertaken Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient (CRISP) within the last 3 years, they may be eligible for credit towards the subject Fundamentals of Peri-Operative Care (12.5 points) if they submit evidence of their relevant knowledge and practice. This will take the form of a 3,500-word essay of an evidence-based description of the care of a surgical patient from admission to discharge. Further information is available on request.

If a course applicant has undertaken the Australian and New Zealand Surgical Skills Education and Training (ASSET) within the last 3 years, they may be eligible for credit towards the subject Basic Surgical Skills 2 (12.5 points) if they submit evidence of their relevant knowledge and skills experience. This will take the form of provision of evidence of attainment of standards of specific surgical skills. Further information is available on request.

If a course applicant has undertaken ASSET and Training in Professional Skills (TIPS) within the last 3 years, they may be eligible for credit towards the subjects Basic Surgical Skills 1 & 2 (25 points) if they submit evidence of their knowledge and practice. This will take the form of a 2,500-word essay on non-technical skills for surgeons and an additional statement of evidence of attainment of standards of specific surgical skills. Further information is available on request.

No RPL is offered for EMST or ATLS. [Other courses offered by RACS but do not align with our program]

The Course Directors may consider alternate credit awards for Master of Surgical Science subjects on request.

Knowledge and skills you’ll gain

Surgical knowledge

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

Surgical skills

  • Demonstrate range of basic surgical skills including handling instruments, incisions, handling tissue, local anaesthetic techniques and tying sutures etc.
  • Assess and manage surgical wounds
  • Demonstrate competence in patient-centred surgical assessments of (simulated) patients
  • Demonstrate effective skills in consenting patients for surgery including explanations of risk information

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 
  • Discuss surgical approaches and endoscopic techniques
  • Apply principles of patient safety in surgical practice
  • Apply basic biomedical science knowledge to clinical surgical scenarios
  • Discuss application and interpretation of imaging techniques 
  • Identify principles of pre-, intra- and post-operative care
  • Describe principles of anaesthesia, including complications
  • Describe range of surgical complications including haemorrhage, sepsis and cardiorespiratory conditions
  • Assess nutritional requirements of surgical patient in perioperative phase and methods of delivery
  • Describe risks of thrombo embolic complications and methods of treatment including prophylaxis
  • Describe management of sepsis including principles of antibiotic treatment
  • Describe features of contemporary surgical practice from socio-politico-economic perspective
  • Outline the nine surgical competencies and their relationship to levels of surgical training

Professional knowledge

  • Define professionalism from sociological perspective and apply to role of a surgeon
  • Identify role of Royal Australian College of Surgeons (and other professional associations) in contract with society
  • Describe common lapses in professionalism and their origins
  • Outline strategies for identifying and reporting on lapses in professionalism
  • Apply assessment measures of professionalism in context of surgical practice
  • Describe breadth of surgical careers including specialisation, research and education roles
  • Plan own surgical training pathway
  • Outline leadership theory and application in surgical practice
  • Develop self-care strategies to meet demands of a surgical career

Research knowledge and skills

  • Implement and write up surgical research project
  • Appraise literature relevant to surgical research project
  • Demonstrate capacity to engage in reflective, critical discussion of a particular interest in surgery
  • Evaluate research data in light of what is known on given surgical topic
  • Manage all phases of a surgical research project
  • Evaluate ethical issues associated with conduct of surgical research project
  • Identify challenges to conducting surgical research
  • Demonstrate formal research presentation skills

Next : See what subjects you’ll be studying

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