1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Surgery, Society and Professionalism

Surgery, Society and Professionalism (SURG90030)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Not available in 2019

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


Year of offerNot available in 2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeSURG90030
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The aim of this subject is to locate the role of surgery in the broader community.

The concept of professionalism is explored from a sociological perspective. Ways in which patients’ voices are heard will be considered. Contemporary challenges in professionalism will be identified together with the role of professional associations (in this instance the RACS) in maintaining their social contract with society and with the members of the association (and vice versa).

Examples of lapses in professionalism will be discussed with a view to future prevention. Individual responsibility in identifying and reporting lapses will be covered. Approaches to supporting the highest standards of surgical care are a feature of the subject. The subject also provides students with an opportunity to plan their surgical training pathway.

The rich and varied opportunities of surgical careers will be explored. Strands of professional life will be considered including public and private practice, research and education roles. Students will also consider leadership theory and its role in surgical teams. Self-care will be explored as an acknowledgement of the demands of a surgical career.

Finally, students will be oriented to basic educational theory and practice in relation to their surgical competency of scholar and teacher.

Intended learning outcomes

Students completing this subject should be able to:

  • Define professionalism from a sociological perspective and apply to the role of a surgeon
  • Identify the role of the RACS (and other professional associations) in its contract with society
  • Describe common lapses in professionalism and their origins
  • Outline strategies for identifying and reporting on lapses in professionalism
  • Apply assessment measures of professionalism in the context of surgical practice
  • Describe the breadth of surgical careers including specialization, research and education roles
  • Plan their own surgical training pathway
  • Outline leadership theory and its application in surgical practice
  • Develop self-care strategies to meet the demands of a surgical career

Generic skills

  • Initiative, autonomy, organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Oral communication
  • Finding, evaluating and using relevant information
  • Written communication
  • Working with others and in teams

Last updated: 24 August 2019