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The MRCS

The MRCS is an intercollegiate exam for surgical trainees wishing to become members of one of the four Royal Surgical Colleges in the UK and Ireland.  It is a postgraduate diploma that shows a trainee has the necessary knowledge and competence to progress from Core Surgical Training to speciality training. The MRCP also allows trainees following the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme, or ISCP, entry into higher specialist training.

The next MRCS exam will take place on 11 September. The deadline for submitting applications is 29 June.


Structure of the MRCS

The MRCS comprises

The Part A exam in a five-hour multiple-choice question examination comprising a three-hour Applied Basic Sciences paper, and a two-hour Principles of Surgery in General paper, both taken on the same day, with both marks combined for a total mark. Candidates are allowed to attempt the MRCS Part A examination no more than six times.

The MRCS Part B usually consists of 18 stations assessing the knowledge and skills of the trainee over three and a half hours. The OSCE stations are each nine minutes in duration, and are divided into Broad Content Areas, or BCAs:

There may also be an additional preparation station, or one that is being trialled. The trial station will not be obvious to the candidate, the score simply won’t be totalled. Every station is manned with at least one examiner, and on those stations with more than one, each examiner will be looking at a different part of the trainee’s performance.

The MRCS covers a wide range of competences mapped to the curriculum. They are:

Module One – The Basic Sciences

The aim of this module is to ensure the candidate has acquired the required knowledge of basic scientific principles with six categories, as well as investigating and managing common surgical conditions (as listed in Module Two, below). The six categories are as follows:

The knowledge required within each category follows below.

Applied Surgical Anatomy

Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of

Applied Surgical Physiology

Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of

They must also understand the physiology of specific organ systems relevant to surgical practice including the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, endocrine and neurological systems.

Applied Surgical Pathology

Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of

Pharmacology

Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of

The pharmacology and safe prescribing of drugs used in the treatment of surgical diseases including

Microbiology

Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of

Imaging

Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of diagnostic imaging and interventional techniques to include basic interpretation of

Module Two – Common Congenital and Acquired Surgical Conditions

This module requires candidates to demonstrate understanding of the relevant basic scientific principles (as described in Module One, above) and relevant care (and described in Modules Four & Five) for the following surgical conditions, within nine topics:

Gastrointestinal Disease

Presenting symptoms or signs of

To include

Breast Disease

Presenting symptoms or signs of

Vascular disease

Presenting symptoms or signs of

To include

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease

Presenting symptoms or signs of

To include

Genitourinary Disease

Presenting symptoms or signs of

To include

Trauma and Orthopaedics

Presenting symptoms or signs of

To include

Diseases of the Skin, Head and Neck

Presenting symptoms or signs of

To include benign and malignant lesions of the skin, head and neck, including mouth, tongue, and ear.

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Presenting symptoms or signs of

To include

Endocrine Disease

Presenting symptoms or signs of

To include

Module Three – Basic Surgical Skills

The aim of this module is to meet the following objectives:

Candidates must also demonstrate knowledge of the following:

Candidates must also demonstrate competence in the following technical skills:

Module Four – Assessment of the Surgical Patient

The aim of this module is to allow the candidate to demonstrate the relevant knowledge, clinical skills, and attitudes in assessing the surgical patient.

Module Five – Perioperative Management

During this module, candidates will be meeting the following outcomes:

And demonstrate the following knowledge and clinical skills:

Module Six – Assessment and Management of Patients with Trauma

During this module, candidates will be meeting the following outcomes:

Module Seven – Surgical Care of Children

During this module, candidates will be meeting the following outcomes:

Module Eight – Management of the Dying Patient

During this module, candidates will be meeting the following outcomes:

Module Nine – Organ and Tissue Transplantation

During this module, candidates will be meeting the following outcomes:

Module 10 – Professional Behaviour and Leadership Skills

During this module, candidates will be meeting the following outcomes:

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