Training and development (paediatric surgery)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their career including medical school.

After completing foundation training you will need to undertake core training in surgery (CT1/2) and specialty training in paediatric surgery (commencing at ST3).

Core surgical training

Core surgical training lasts two years and provides hospital training in a range of surgical specialties.  During the first two years of your training you must take the examination (written and practical) to give you membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS).

Competition for ST3 posts is stiff and you will need at least 24 months’ experience in surgery (not including foundation modules, but including paediatric or neonatal critical care) by the time of appointment. As a part of this 24 months’ experience you need six months’ experience in paediatric surgery and six months’ experience in general surgery.  In addition six months’ experience in neonatology critical care is very advantageous.

Because of this intense competition many applicants also have also worked as a locum or SAS doctor at ST3 level in paediatric surgery/urology or general surgery before being accepted for ST3 training.

You must be able to demonstrate various clinical skills and other essential criteria before you start your ST3 training. You must have the Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) qualification and have validated e-portfolio documentation of your surgical experience.

Completion of other training courses such as Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) and Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient (CCrISP) will also greatly enhance your application for ST3 training.

Following successful completion of your core surgical training it is necessary to apply competitively for the next phase of your training (ST3).

ST3 Specialty Paediatric Surgical Training

Specialty paediatric surgical training (ST3-8) takes at least six years. During this time you will be employed as a specialist registrar. At the end of this training you can then apply for consultant posts. However, before you can do this you must take further examinations leading to fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). In order to work in the UK as a consultant you need a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) which is awarded when you have successfully completed the FRCS and your training.

The GMC provides information on the curriculum for paediatric surgery.

Getting in tips

The Oriel website has detailed information on entry requirements, including the person specifications for ST3 training in paediatric surgery.
Paediatric surgery is very competitive so it’s important to develop your practical skills and interest in surgery as early as you can. This will also give you valuable experience to add to your CV.

Here are some suggestions for people at different stages of their career:

    • join your university surgical society
    • attend conferences on surgery for medical students – this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • undertake a special study module or project in surgery and choose an elective in surgery or paediatric surgery
    • become an Affiliate Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
    • consider doing some voluntary work that involves working with children
    • make contact with surgeons in your hospital - offer to help in any way possible
    • get involved with research projects
    • placements in emergency medicine and anaesthesia will also provide good experience
    • request a taster attachment during your F2 year in paediatrics/paediatric surgery
    • attend courses such as those offered by the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh – topics include surgical skills, interview skills for core surgical training and career-planning
    • choose an audit project related to surgery
    • ensure your e-portfolio has plenty of surgery evidence and that this is kept properly up-to-date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • study for the examinations for the membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) and then fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, FRCS (Paed)
    • participate in national and international meetings relevant to paediatric surgery
    • continue to develop your practical and academic expertise and get involved in research where possible
    • consider working overseas for a medical charity
    • demonstrate evidence of relevant academic and research achievements such as prizes, awards and publications
    • present your research at national and international meetings
    • become an Associate Member of the Royal College of Surgeons
    • join the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons
    • develop your management and teaching experience
Make a comment or report a problem with this page

Help us improve