Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Institute of Academic Surgery

Medical students

The IAS is committed to stimulating aspiring medical students to pursue careers in academic surgery and to support them in establishing themselves as surgeon scientists and educators.

Being an academic surgeon is incredibly rewarding and enables you to provide best practice clinical care, discover and apply new knowledge to surgical problems, teach trainees and surgeons at all levels across the world, contribute toward advancing the field of surgery including being a part of innovation and change, and most importantly to significantly improve outcomes for patients.

In addition, because the medical school curriculum is busy with short rotations, students are often left with relatively little exposure to the operating theatre. Being involved in surgical research gives you a reason to visit theatres regularly to meet with your academic surgeon supervisor. At the same time you will have the opportunity to watch them operate, interact with the surgical team and meet residents and registrars who are often only a few years further down the surgical path than you.

There are several types of surgical research to be involved with as you embark on a career in academic surgery. Each type requires a specific set of skills beyond those acquired during clinical training, and should be chosen based on your research interests. These include:

  • Laboratory or Basic Science Research
  • Translational Research
  • Clinical Research
  • Health Systems Research
  • Surgical Education Research.

Knowing when to gain your first exposure to surgical research can be difficult and will appropriately vary depending on your interests and commitments.

The IAS encourages involvement in research from as early as possible to ensure a solid understanding of research is developed. In addition to enhancing your knowledge regarding specific surgical areas and research methodology, it can also have the added bonus of smoothing your transition into surgical training and Resident and Registrar positions, and enhance opportunities to expand your research involvement into a higher degree at a later stage.

Ultimately being involved in research will ensure your mind remains as sharp as your scalpel.

Having a good mentor is also an incredibly important component to establishing a successful academic career. It has been shown to make people more confident than their peers, more likely to have a productive research career and to overall greater career satisfaction. Encouragement guidance and support of a good mentor is crucial in becoming accomplished in surgery and sciences.