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Surgical Trainee 

Surgical TraineeDoctors in training who are pursuing a career in surgery. This includes those in their foundation years, as well as those who are engaged in a training programme, either at core level, or at specialty level. 



Area of practice

Inpatient (ward and operating theatre). 

Overview of tasks and activities

Clinical duties

Central venous line insertion
Urethral catheterisation
Chest drain insertion
Safe administration of appropriate local anaesthetic agents
Close superficial tissues accurately
Administration of local anaesthesia

Administrative duties 

Case work evaluation
Risk management
Active participation in clinical audit events
Writing operation records

Liaison between patients and doctors 

Promoting health and fitness to patients during interactions (Health Promotion Module)
Assist senior members of staff

Supervision and management

  • A designated consultant supervisor must be available when the trainee is timetabled for a particular activity
  • This must include both elective and emergency clinical activity


Whilst direct supervision will be appropriate for early year trainees, with increasing experience the trainee should become increasingly independent, provided that a designated consultant supervisor is available.

Eligibility for training

  • Completion of core training competencies
  • Successful completion of the MRCS Part A and B Examination
  • Completion of mandatory courses, determined by specialty


  • Five to six years of medical school, followed by two years of foundation training, two years of core training and six years of specialty training
  • Doctors at this grade will usually spend six to eight years at this level building up experience
  • After two years of core surgical training across different areas of surgery, doctors can sit the MRCS (Member of The Royal College of Surgeons) exams. This, along with other assessments, enables them to continue their training
  • They then revert to the title Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms, instead of Dr. This is due to tradition; in the past surgeons did not have to complete full medical training and so were not allowed to be called doctor
  • After a further four to six years of training and passing further exams, they can become FRCS (Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons)

Professional accountability

Trainee surgeons are accountable to the General Medical Council.


Nodal point 3 - 4.

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