The Surgical Portfolio and Interview

A complete guide

Joe Esland, Andrew Hall

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: June 30, 2021

Pages: 218 pages

ISBN: 9781911510819 Related titles: ,

Other editions available: Ebook


Surgical training is highly competitive and requires preparation, dedication and an understanding of the principles of selection.

Your application will be evaluated across a range of competences according to objective criteria, with selection based primarily on your:

  • surgical portfolio – evidence of relevant experience and achievements to date, which is used to demonstrate your suitability for a role
  • surgical interview – a range of ‘stations’ designed to assess specific areas of the selection criteria

This book is a practical guide to help you build an impressive portfolio and deliver a quality performance at interview. It offers key advice on these two areas of assessment, as follows:


The surgical portfolio:

  • Advice on where to start and how to maximise the benefit you gain from each opportunity.
  • Each portfolio domain is discussed in turn, explaining the context and rationale and providing a guide to maximising your performance in each area.
  • Example opportunities are provided for you to pursue to help to adapt your experience to the specific assessment criteria.


The surgical interview:

  • Understand the rationale behind the questioning to help you tailor your answers to maximise scoring.
  • Answer templates with key guidance to help you provide effective answers based on your portfolio experiences.
  • Guidance on contemporary surgical topics to help you with discussion and debate.

How to use this book

Section 1: Introduction

Ch 1: A career in surgery
1.1: Direct clinical care
1.2: Supporting professional activities
1.3: Additional NHS responsibilities
Ch 2: Training outline and requirements for progression
2.1: Training structure
2.2: Requirements for progression

Section 2: The surgical portfolio
Ch 3: Portfolio presentation and structure
3.1: Table of contents
3.2: Structure
Ch 4: Portfolio maintenance and the surgical logbook
4.1: General principles
4.2: Evidence required
4.3: Surgical logbook
Ch 5: Creating good opportunities and maximising yield
5.1: Creating good opportunities
5.2: Maximising yield
Ch 6: Portfolio domains
6.1: Using this chapter
6.2: Research
6.3: Teaching and education
6.4: Quality improvement and clinical audit
6.5: Leadership and management
6.6: Academic achievement and higher degrees
6.7: Commitment to specialty

Section 3: The surgical interview
Ch 7: General interview advice
7.1: Preparation
7.2: Interview day
Ch 8: Understanding the question
8.1: Closed questions about professional qualities
8.2: Open questions
8.3: Ethics and professionalism
8.4: Clinical scenarios
8.5: Specific knowledge
Ch 9: Characteristics assessed at interview – ‘buzzwords’
Ch 10: Professional qualities
10.1: How to answer questions about professional qualities
10.2: Research
10.3: Teaching and education
10.4: Quality improvement and clinical audit
10.5: Leadership and management
10.6: Communication
10.7: Teamwork
10.8: Working under pressure
10.9: Probity
10.10: Empathy and compassion
Ch 11: Open questions
11.1: How to answer open questions
11.2: Why surgery?
11.3: Why this specialty?
11.4: Why this region’s programme?
11.5: Tell me about yourself
11.6: What are your weaknesses?
Ch 12: Ethics and professionalism
12.1: How to answer ethics and professionalism questions
12.2: Common themes
12.3: Practice questions
Ch 13: Clinical scenarios
13.1: Purpose of this chapter
13.2: How to answer clinical questions
13.3: General surgery
13.4: Trauma and orthopaedic surgery
13.5: Vascular and cardiothoracic surgery
13.6: Neurosurgery
13.7: Plastic surgery
13.8: Urology
13.9: Ear, nose and throat surgery
13.10: Perioperative care
13.11: Advanced trauma life support (ATLS)
13.12: Managing a theatre list
Ch 14: Knowledge-based interview stations
14.1: Apprenticeship
14.2: Leadership
14.3: Scholarship

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