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INTRODUCTION: During medical school, students have numerous opportunities to develop their portfolios for a career in surgery, such as undertaking additional surgical placements and participating in surgical research. However, at present, there is little guidance available for medical students on how to build a strong portfolio for the UK core surgical training application. This article outlines work undertaken to provide concise guidance to support future surgeons, via application of the competency-based CanMEDS framework to the current UK core surgical training specification. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A pre-conference meeting was arranged for medical students at the Society of Academic and Research Surgeons annual conference in January 2018. Self-selected research enthusiasts from different university years discussed practical approaches to pair the CanMEDS model with the core surgical training specification, with support from the STARSurg Collaborative committee to facilitate discussion. A nominal group-based method was adopted in order to reach areas of consensus. RESULTS: Practical tips and recommendations for each respective CanMEDS domain (communicator, collaborator, leader, health advocate, scholar, professional) were made in relation to the core surgical training specification. These included key action points and named opportunities that are currently available to UK medical students. CONCLUSIONS: A consensus approach was taken to address key areas of competence across each CanMEDS domain. This informed the development of a guidance framework to support students to develop a strong portfolio for a core surgical training application. This framework can be followed by medical students, equipping them with the skills necessary to succeed in their future surgical career.

Original publication




Journal article


Br j hosp med (lond)

Publication Date





670 - 673


Career Choice, Communication, Education, Medical, General Surgery, Humans, Ireland, Mentoring, Schools, Medical, Social Support, United Kingdom