The Core Surgical Training Portfolio

What is the Core Surgical Training Portfolio?

A portfolio required to apply for the Core Surgical Training (CST) program – the next step for foundation-level training for doctors who are pursuing a career in surgery. It is part of the postgraduate medical training pathway within the United Kingdom. The portfolio is essentially a CV where you receive points for specific achievements. As medical students, you now have the time available to start building your portfolio. Once you start working, you will have less time available to work on this. Therefore, the earlier the better!

The key components of the CST portfolio include:

  1. Clinical Experience: Trainees gain hands-on clinical experience by working in various surgical specialties. They rotate through different surgical departments to gain exposure to a wide range of procedures and patient cases. This helps them develop foundational surgical skills and an understanding of different specialties.
  2. Operative Experience: You will get opportunities to observe and assist in surgical procedures under the supervision of experienced surgeons. This is a fantastic way to understand the surgical specialty you want to pursue and to develop basic surgical skills e.g. closing up at the end of an operation. As you observe and assist in more operations, you will gain more responsibility in the operating room.
  3. Research and Audit: Trainees are encouraged to engage in research and audit activities to develop their understanding of evidence-based medicine and contribute to the advancement of surgical knowledge.
  4. Professional Development: The CST program also focuses on developing professional skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, and ethical considerations in surgery.
  5. Professional Examinations: Successful completion of the MRCS forms part of the CST portfolio. Points are awarded to those who have completed part A of the MRCS prior to applying.

Upon completion of the CST portfolio, you will receive a points-based score when applying to join the CST programme. This will then decide whether you proceed to the interview stage.

How BLSS can help you with your portfolio?

1. Join our mentorship scheme

Take a look at our mentorship scheme page to learn what our annual scheme offers.

2. Fill in our free Notion template to track your progress with your portfolio
3. Attend our portfolio talks throughout the year

Throughout the year, the Careers lead will organise talks and speed mentoring sessions with surgical trainees. These sessions will give you the chance to get 1-1 feedback on your portfolio, and to answer any questions you may have concerning the portfolio.

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