I'm hoping to start a 4yr fast track course at Notts in Sept 2012. There is no opportunity to intercalate, therefore would that disadvantage me from specialising in something like Orthopaedics? Would steps do you think I would need to take to make my app. stand out after the foundation yrs?


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well you have two previous degrees, haven't you? That counts for something.

To stand out you need distinctions, prizes, publications, merits for academic points. They aren't a big part of it though, you get points for attending things like basic surgical skill (do as F1), lots of other courses, leadership courses and extra curricular things. Getting the ST1-2 posts aren't bad, later on it gets worse. You may also find that over the next five year you change your mind and want to do something else. Doing a foundation job in it is a good idea as well, though bear in mind to get a reg post you need a lot of ortho experience and likely more than you get in the normal general surgical training as it stands today, though that might change by the time you get to that stage.

What you should do though if you are set on being a surgeon is to get an elogbook (.org) and fill out every procedure you go and observe (hosp #, dob, procedure are needed). Make sure you get much time in theatres to fill it up and try to assist as often as possible. Doing and audit cycle gives you a lot of points so get on that as soon as possible, preferably as a student as it counts towards your foundation application as well.

Then you have to make a good impression at the interview so there are quite a few more important hoops to jump through than an intercalated degree. To be honest I wouldn't be surprised if you weren't still set on being an orthopod when you finish F1 so don't pigeonhole yourself just yet
Thanks Hannes, I really appreciate the response. You are absolutely right in not pigeon-holing very early on. I really just wanted to get an idea of what I could do at this early stage in preparation for any specialism. I'm quite interested in a number of specialisms, and just happened to pick Orth. on the forum to see what people do to prepare themselves for various stages of the application.

Your response is great and really appreciated.

One of my friends is in 5 of 7 yrs for chest medicine, and he said he intercalated and also published a paper during FY1. And having spoken to a few students from Mancs they also mentioned intercalation as key to getting into a specialism. But as you say many people during their medicine degree are not in a position to decide on a specialism so how can you prepare for a specicific one.

I haven't decided on surgery as such, but I quite like the idea of poking and proding at people's in'erds to see what's going on, so you never know.

What stage are you at in your training and what's your background, if you don't mind me asking?