Entry requirements, skills and interests (cardiothoracic surgery)

This page provides useful information about the entry requirements needed for this specialty up to and including foundation training. It also includes information on the skills and interests you will need.

Entry requirements

Before you train as a surgeon you must complete a degree in medicine and have obtained a MBBS or equivalent qualification. Find out about getting into medical school.

You then need to complete a two-year foundation programme, then either you can enter directly into cardiothoracic surgery or  you can complete two years of core training. After successfully completing your first year of foundation training you become eligible for registration as a doctor with the General Medical Council (GMC). Foundation training includes undertaking rotations in a range of specialties including surgery.

To find information about the Foundation Programme, visit our applying for foundation training page.

After completing foundation training you will need to undertake specialist training (see training and development page).

Skills and interests

Cardiothoracic surgery is a highly demanding role and you will need a special blend of skills and personal qualities. These include:

  • the ability to remain calm and level-headed in very stressful situations
  • practical skills such as good hand-eye co-ordination, manual dexterity and visuo-spatial awareness
  • the capacity to monitor developing situations, anticipate issues and to show initiative
  • the ability to thrive under pressure and resilience to cope with changing circumstances
  • excellent organisational and communication skills
  • good team-working skills and ability to lead and manage a team effectively
  • stamina to cope with potentially long hours in theatre
  • the ability to inspire confidence in others
  • emotional resilience and the ability to support your team in sometimes difficult circumstances

If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you're applying for a university course funded by the NHS.

Find out more about NHS values.

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