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Chapter 3: Goals & Objectives

3.1 Basic formal training

The curriculum specifically addresses the knowledge content as defined by the Royal College for the Surgical Foundations examination.

Approximately 25-30 percent of the curriculum is devoted to surgical foundations type topics. The SF Committee and residents of the Resident Representative Group (RRG) are responsible for choosing the topics. The SF Committee and RRG are guided by the Royal College's Objectives of Surgical Foundations Training document and the CanMEDS guidelines. Program Directors and residents choose the lecturers who they feel will cover the material in the most relevant way. Resident coordinators present the lecturer with an outline of the material, stressing the areas that the group feels require the most attention. Residents volunteer or are assigned to particular topics which it is then their responsibility to coordinate.

Over the course of the two-year curriculum scheduling is regularly discussed and the curriculum adjusted to ensure that residents receive as much teaching as they feel necessary to prepare them for the examination.

Basic clinical teaching is provided for all the surgical subspecialties.

Clinical lectures provide approximately 10 percent of the content of Surgical Foundations. This augments but does not replace the formal clinical training that residents receive within their own subspecialties.

A formal research methods course and seminar series is incorporated into Surgical Foundations.

Research activities are encouraged and facilitated through a formal research methods course that occupies approximately 20 percent of the curriculum. A research seminar series allows residents to present their research to the SF group for feedback. A staff epidemiologist coordinates the research course and tracks the progress of the residents' research.

Technical skills training in basic and subspecialty-specific skills will be provided.

Approximately 30 percent of the curriculum is dedicated to technical skills training. Residents benefit from standardized training which allows them to participate to a greater extent in the operating room at an earlier stage in their training and form the basis for further technical training in the operating room. Anatomy sessions form part of this technical training.

3.2 The Principles of adult education


Motivation is improved by making the sessions as clinically relevant as possible and by ensuring that each session is delivered in the most interesting and engaging manner by speakers who are chosen by the SF Committee and residents themselves.


The residents of the Resident Representative Group (RRG) are involved in choosing topics and coordinating teaching sessions. Residents coordinate sessions by first reviewing the topic, determining relevant portions for presentation, and creating an outline. This outline is communicated to the staff physician, ensuring that the content is delivered according to the needs of the SF resident group.


Residents are involved in the design and implementation of the curriculum so that they have a sense of personal responsibility and responsibility to their peers.


Learning occurs in an environment that is free of stress during the residents' protected teaching time.


Topics for each session are chosen by the residents themselves. The content of the curriculum adheres to the guidelines set out for the Surgical Foundations examination ie. the Royal College's Objectives of Surgical Foundations Training document.

3.3 CanMEDS Guidelines

Medical Expert

Residents have interactive seminars covering basic surgical principles to augment their reading in those subjects. There are also clinically-oriented interactive seminars in the surgical subspecialties to formally address issues regarding patient care. Sessions are devoted to teaching and discussing ethical concepts. A specially designed research program gives residents a well-rounded education in evidence-based surgery.


The format of Surgical Foundations fosters communication skills. The residents need to communicate regularly with their peers as well as with the lecturers. Issues regarding communication may be addressed specifically during sessions on communication, teaching, management and patient care.


The variety of subjects addressed in Surgical Foundations is such that the residents are regularly taught by non-surgical specialists. This gives residents an appreciation for the expertise of other specialists in a multidisciplinary approach to medical care. Residents are encouraged to form study groups and collaborate while studying for the Surgical Foundations examination.


Issues of patient management are frequently discussed during clinical sessions. Residents elect a resident representative body to help manage Surgical Foundations and individual residents are required to coordinate sessions with lecturers and other residents. Techniques of time management and practice management may be addressed in specific sessions of Surgical Foundations.

Health Advocate

Issues of health governance may be presented and discussed by leaders in the governance structure.


Residents are encouraged to keep a learning dossier. They identify their learning needs and decide how best to address those needs. They receive training in teaching skills and workshops in critical appraisal and all residents will participate in a research methods seminar series.


Residents are exposed to clinicians who are role models of professionalism. Specific sessions deal with the concepts of professionalism and residents are encouraged to discuss their own issues and experience. Royal College vignettes highlighting professional issues are available for discussion.

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