Trainee resources

Our postgraduate training programmes are designed to produce specialist doctors who are capable of handling the everyday challenges of our health service.

When you choose to train with RCSI, we will help you develop the advanced skills and knowledge required to practice independently as a specialist and lead a clinical team. To assist in your development and progression throughout the programme, you will have access to a suite of supports including health and wellbeing, learning and financial support.

We recognise that surgeons and emergency medicine doctors face stressful situations on a daily basis. Coping with the demands of a busy profession, maintaining skills and knowledge and balancing family and personal commitments can be difficult.

Like the rest of society, healthcare professionals are not immune to depression, anxiety and poor mental health – high levels of stress due to administrative processes, fear of litigation and inappropriate behaviours such as bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment can all have a detrimental effect on your health.

Below is a list of resources that are available to help you deal with these situations as they arise.

Dealing with inappropriate behaviour

Discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment, either in the practice of surgery or in surgical or emergency medicine training, is unacceptable and inappropriate under any circumstance, and should not be tolerated.

All those involved in surgical and emergency medicine training at RCSI has a responsibility to treat colleagues with dignity and respect – irrespective of their sex, race, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, political conviction, membership or non-membership of a trade union/professional organisation or real or suspected health status. RCSI is committed to taking a leadership role in supporting the standards of professionalism behaviour that are required of health professionals in positions of leadership and/or influence. We are committed to ensuring that appropriate procedures are in place to support and empower our students and staff, and support any victims of discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment.

Should you be a victim of, or observe others being a victim, of harassment, please refer to RCSI’s Guidelines on Dealing with Inappropriate Behaviour or the HSE policies and procedures on Dignity at Work.

HSE staff benefits

The HSE Workplace Health and Wellbeing Unit aims to improve the general health and wellbeing of staff in the health services and support more people with health conditions to stay in work or enter employment. As a trainee and employee of the HSE you will have access to the services the unit provides, including access to occupational health services within your training hospital; and full access to the HSE Employee Assistance and Counselling Service (EACP), which provides confidential counselling support and referral service for all staff with personal or work-related difficulties.

You will also have access to the National HR Employee Helpdesk which aims to provide individual employee support in partnership with local HR offices and the Employee Relations Advisory Services (ERAS). Contact the Helpdesk on 1850 444 925 (Monday to Friday, 8:00-17:00) or email ask.hr@hse.ie. The Helpdesk is also on Facebook – search for 'HSE HR SAYS'.

Practitioner Health Matters Programme

If you have a concern about mental health or a substance misuse problem, you can receive confidential help from the Practitioner Health Matters Programme. The programme is not-for-profit and fully independent and separate from the regulatory bodies and employers, confidentiality is fully assured for all that use the service. Call +353 (0) 1 278 9369 or email confidential@practitionerhealth.ie.

Online tools

The Mindfulness and Relaxation Centre at Beaumont Hospital is a useful resource for trainees based at the hospital. Further afield, psychologists at the Australian National University have developed MoodGYM, an online resource that teaches cognitive behavioural techniques for the management of depression and anxiety.

We recognise that during your training pathway you may under perform and not achieve the desired performance requirements of the curriculum; there can be many reasons for this. We aim to provide support to all trainees to ensure you maximise your development and career progression throughout the training.

The support escalation is:

  • Consultant trainer or training post supervisor
  • Hospital-based director of core surgical training (ST1) or programme director
  • Dean of Postgraduate Surgical Education may, in appropriate situations, bring any problems to the attention of the Core Surgical Training Committee and/or the Irish Surgical Postgraduate Training Committee (ISPTC).

All trainees are encouraged to use the resources available to them during their time on the programme should they encounter any problems or wish to seek career advice.

Within the programme, the Competency Assessment and Performance Appraisal/Annual Review of Competency Progression (CAPA/ARCP) process is the principal mode of identification of trainees who are under-performing.This formal process involves a face-to-face counselling session with consultant trainers (not the consultant trainers with whom the trainee is currently working) and takes place every six months. During this meeting, all aspects of the trainee’s performance, both in the workplace and in the RCSI structured programme, are examined in detail. Any concerns which the trainee may have with regards to their training progress are also discussed.

RCSI has developed a range of learning support to aid our trainees as they progress through training. The available supports include:

  1. mSurgery: RCSI's surgical trainees portal/app for surgical trainees, mSurgery supports training in an environment where trainees need quick access to knowledge resources and revision. The application is the central information point for all elements of the training programme, including content on minor operations, videos, library, ebooks, skills lessons and timetables.
  2. EMnow: Like mSurgery, EMnow is an app – specifically for emergency medicine trainees – that supports training and serves as an information point for all elements of the training programme. 
  3. RCSI Library: All trainees have access to the RCSI Library. The Library’s collections support the teaching, learning, research and clinical activities of the College.
  4. E-resources: All RCSI registered students, trainees and staff have 24/7 access to the RCSI Library's online resources, which includes 10,000 electronic journals and ebooks
  5. Online databases: An extensive number of online databases are available to RCSI students and staff include MEDLINE, PsycInfo, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane Database, SCOPUS, and Journal Citation Reports. A full list of databases is available on the Library section of the website
  6. Theses and open access institutional research repository: Theses and dissertations which have completed the degree awarding process are available in the RCSI Library by the relevant School. These copies are the archival record for NUI and RCSI and are preserved and made available online for use by researchers and scholars. These are available online in the RCSI institutional open access repository and are available as a resource for all.
  7. Print resources: The print book collection contains approximately 15,000 titles and is a working collection. Texts are searchable via the Library online catalogue by searching by title, author or subject.
  8. Information literacy training: Information skills units are offered to academic programmes in all Schools in RCSI. Content and learning activities are customised to integrate with modules and coursework needs, with activities typically including in-class or small group practicals and workshops. All information literacy content is available on RCSI VLE under the course information seeking and library skills.
  9. IBM SPSS software: SPSS addresses the entire statistical analysis process, from planning and data collection to analysis and reporting, and is particularly beneficial when carrying out research, clinical audits and quality improvement projects. You can download SPSS Statistics using your RCSI details via RCSI VLE
  10. EndNote: You will also have access to EndNote to help you record, store and manage references and organise your research. You will be able to add references manually or search and download directly from online databases and library catalogues. You can download EndNote using your RCSI details via RCSI VLE.

There are a number of funds available to support trainees in educational and training activities, these include:

Trainee Support Scheme

  • €1,250 maximum per year per core trainee; €2,000 maximum per year per specialty trainee.
  • Funding is not carried over year-on-year
  • Scheme is processed via HSE
  • Available from July 2019 

Clinical Courses and Exams Fund

  • €450 per claim
  • No restrictions on how many claims can be submitted per annum
  • Run by HSE/NDTP for courses and exams only on the approved list
  • You must claim for this fund through the HR department in your hospital within six months of attending the exam/course. 

Surgical Fellowships and awards

RCSI offers a range of scholarships and grants in postgraduate surgery to assist surgeons-in-training and recently-appointed consultant surgeons, to gain additional expertise in centres of excellence overseas. 

The Irish Surgical Training Group (ISTG) – formerly the Irish Higher Surgical Training Group – is an independent entity run by surgical trainees.

In addition to organising and running specific events, the ISTG represents trainees from all subspecialties and levels of surgical training at a variety of committees influencing training.

Committee membership 2019/2020

Specialty representatives

Association of Surgeons in Training