Major changes are occurring in surgical training in the UK and Ireland. Training time is reduced due to the introduction of run-through training and the EWTD. Streamlined training also may affect the number of trainees engaging in full-time higher degrees by research, in spite of the fact that those who do engage are more academically productive. This study assesses the attitudes of medical students towards a career in surgery and their attitudes to research, especially in the context of an intercalated degree programme. 615 students comprising both undergraduates and postgraduates from RCSI were surveyed. The influence of a number of factors was ranked using five-point Likert scales. Students were asked to rate the importance of research to their future careers. 595 (97 %) of those surveyed completed the questionnaire satisfactorily. Those interested in surgery were more likely to be male, undergraduate students and younger. Factors encouraging students to pursue a surgical career were prestige, identification of a surgical mentor, financial reward and research opportunities on offer (p < 0.001 in all cases). Almost 27 % of students had already engaged with some form of research project. A significant proportion of those interested and not interested in surgery (26 and 29 % respectively) would consider taking time out to do an intercalated research degree as part of their primary medical studies. Surgical training faces significant challenges. One way to encourage the next generation of academic surgeons may be to offer some candidates intercalated research degrees while pursuing their medical qualification.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->