Medical students – apply now for a unique chance to shadow consultant surgeons

Medical students have until the end of the week to apply for a unique opportunity to shadow consultant surgeons in cardiothoracic centres around the UK.

The RCSEd Vascutek Cardiothoracic Surgery Placements is supported by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), and is offering senior medical students from the UK’s universities this exciting experience.

Denis Ajdarpasic, a medical student from The University of Nottingham, recently completed a two-week placement at Bristol Royal Infirmary and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children as part of the placement scheme.

His five-star feedback on the experience has been overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the immersive nature of the placement and the invaluable learning opportunities it provided.

Now it’s your chance!

Students have until 23:59 GMT on Friday 12 April 2024) to apply. Submissions must include a 500-word essay detailing aspirations to pursue cardiac or thoracic surgery.

The placements aim to provide students with hands-on experience in the operating room and exposure to the day-to-day activities of cardiothoracic surgery departments.

Cardiothoracic surgery is one of the more specialised fields in surgery and presents many diverse opportunities for medical practitioners.

Denis had the opportunity to experience this wide range of cardiothoracic surgeries, including adult cardiac, thoracic and congenital cardiac procedures. He welcomed the flexibility to explore different aspects of the specialty – from ward rounds to intensive care and from assisting in surgeries to shadowing anaesthetists and intensivists.

The placements provide a chance to work at esteemed institutions such as James Cook Hospital in Middlesborough, Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, University Hospitals Bristol, and other centres across the UK.

The programme grants students supervised access to operating theatres and the chance to shadow the daily routines of trainees, consultants and allied healthcare professionals within the department.

The objectives include allowing students to shadow their assigned consultant and allied clinicians during patient clinics, ward rounds and surgical procedures.

An initial induction will familiarise students with the placement’s framework.

Students are expected to maintain a logbook record, utilising the Surgical eLogbook, and document their time spent in the operating theatre.

They will receive a certificate and a reference letter from their supervising consultant surgeon upon satisfactory completion.

These attachments are brief, typically spanning two weeks, but are designed to be immersive, offering students a first-hand glimpse into the workings of a modern cardiothoracic surgery team.

Participating hospitals provide exposure to a wide spectrum of cardiothoracic procedures, encompassing adult and congenital heart surgery, thoracic surgical oncology and heart or lung transplantation for cases of failure.

Applicants should be within two years of graduating from a UK medical school and demonstrate prior engagement in extracurricular activities related to cardiothoracic surgery, such as conference attendance, research involvement, or specialised reading.

Selected applicants will have the opportunity to choose their preferred hospital upon acceptance.


Successful candidates will receive support in the form of accommodation within hospital residences and a small grant covering accommodation expenses and one return journey, up to £300 per student.

Applications can be found and submitted here.

Any questions or queries can be directed to awards@rcsed.ac.uk



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Connecting Surgeons.
Shaping the future.
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