Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 182, Issue 2, pp 255–259 | Cite as

Bench and Bedside? Surgeons’ views on the role of research in surgical training

  • H. M. Mohan
  • J. M. O’Riordan
  • D. Collins
  • D. B. O’Connor
  • O. Traynor
  • D. C. Winter
Original Article



Internationally, surgical training is facing the challenge of balancing research and clinical experience in the context of reduced working hours. This study aimed to investigate trainees and trainers’ views on surgeons participating in full-time research during surgical training.


An anonymous voluntary survey was conducted of surgical trainers and trainees in two training systems. To examine surgeons’ views across two different training schemes, surgeons were surveyed in Ireland (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and in a Canadian centre (University of Toronto) between January 2009 and September 2010 (n = 397 respondents).


The majority of respondents felt that time spent in research by trainees was important for surgery as a specialty, while 65 % felt that research was important for surgical trainees (trainers 79 %, trainees 60 %, p = 0.001). A higher proportion of Canadian surgeons reported that they enjoyed their time spent in research, compared to Irish surgeons (84 vs. 66 %, p = 0.05). Financial worries and loss of clinical time were common demotivating factors. Full-time research was more popular than part-time options to obtain a post-graduate degree.


Most agree that research remains an important component of surgical training. However, there are significant differences in opinion among surgeons in different countries on the precise role and structure of research in surgical training.


Research Surgical training Surgical education Medical education Surgical research Postgraduate surgical research 



The Authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of Ms. Jane Cunningham, National Surgical Training Centre, RCSI, Dublin 2, Ireland and Dr. Ronald Levine and Mr. Robert Gardin, University of Toronto, Canada for assisting in distribution of the survey.

Conflict of interest

The Authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. M. Mohan
    • 1
  • J. M. O’Riordan
    • 3
  • D. Collins
    • 1
  • D. B. O’Connor
    • 1
  • O. Traynor
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. C. Winter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryiCORE (Institute for Clinical Outcomes in Research and Education), St. Vincent’s University HospitalDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.National Surgical Training CentreRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublin 1Ireland
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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