Surgical education for medical students in Australia and New Zealand is provided by 19 universities in Australia and 2 in New Zealand. One surgical college is responsible for managing the education, training, assessment, and professional development programs for surgeons throughout both countries. The specialist surgical associations and societies act as agents of the college in the delivery of these programs, the extent of which varies among specialties. Historically, surgical training was divided into basic and specialist components with selection required for each part. In response to a number of factors, a new surgical education and training program has been developed. The new program incorporates a single merit-based national selection directly into the candidate’s specialty of choice. The existing curriculum for each of the nine specialties has been remodeled to a competence-based format in line with the competence required to undertake the essential roles of a surgeon. New standards and criteria have been produced for accreditation of health care facilities used for training. A new basic surgical skills education and training course has been developed, with simulation playing an increasing role in all courses. Trainees’ progress is assessed by workplace-based assessment and formal examinations, including an exit examination. The sustained production of sufficient competent surgeons to meet societal needs encompasses many challenges including the recruitment of appropriate graduates and the availability of adequate educational and clinical resources to train them. Competence-based training is an attractive educational philosophy, but its implementation has brought its own set of issues, many of which have yet to be resolved.
World Journal of Surgery Vol. 32, Issue 10, p. 2138-2144