Selection into Surgical Education and Training

  • John P. CollinsEmail author
  • Eva M. Doherty
  • Oscar Traynor
Part of the Innovation and Change in Professional Education book series (ICPE, volume 17)


Recruitment and selection of appropriate medical graduates to join a surgical education and training programme is a complex, expensive and high-stakes process. Although there is general agreement on the goals of selection, debate continues on how this should be undertaken.

A number of selection methods are used which include the curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation and the interview. More recently, the addition of aptitude testing and personality assessment techniques has been proposed in an effort to recruit trainees with the highest aptitude for surgery and to avoid selecting those whose personality may be unsuitable for such a career.

A critical review of the processes, criteria and methods involved in selection has been undertaken. The key to effective selection is the identification of the person specification required through an analysis of the job of a surgeon and to then design selection criteria based on these requirements. Different and complimentary selection methods are used to provide the best measurements of each of these selection criteria in order to score each applicant. There is currently insufficient evidence of the value of aptitude tests and personality assessments for these to be included as a routine part of the selection of surgical trainees or residents.


Surgical education Selection methods Aptitude testing Personality assessment Evaluation Recruitment Career information Person specification Consensus statement Personal statements Interviews Emotional intelligence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John P. Collins
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Eva M. Doherty
    • 3
  • Oscar Traynor
    • 3
  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.University of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.Royal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublinIreland

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