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Applications have closed for positions starting in August-October 2020. In January 2020 we will open applications for positions starting in August-October 2021.
The overseas paediatric surgery fellowship at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne is a fantastic experience for any senior trainee/fellow. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go as a UK trainee in the build up to my FRCS exam. It offers an invaluable experience of a different healthcare system. The case load is heavy with a good mix of daycase and index cases. As a tertiary and quaternary centre, it has a large neonatal unit, PICU and cardiac centre. It is the designated trauma centre in Melbourne and offers the full range of surgical services including surgical oncology, thoracics, HPB and complex urology. The teaching programme is second to none, there is a dedicated weekly neonatal grilling session and an hour of spot diagnoses from clinical photographs given by the legendary Professor John Hutson. The children's hospital is very close to the centre of Melbourne and during the year we made the most of opportunities to see the Australian Open Tennis, F1 racing, head to the inner city beaches, become coffee connoisseurs and even try and understand AFL as well as explore the rest of Australasia. Above all the team was great and is used to welcoming foreign trainees on a regular basis. I have hopefully formed some life-long friends and mentors which I will get the chance to catch up with at various meetings and conferences for the rest of my career.
Working at RCH has been a fulfilling and inspiring experience, both professionally and personally. The high volume of patients, with busy elective and emergency operating sessions and exposure to an extensive variety of conditions allowed me to quickly boost my operating skills. The regular teaching, which was very well structured, has been crucial in preparation for the FRCS exam. The friendly consultants and other members of the staff, who were always approachable and pleasant to work with, made my whole experience very enjoyable. I feel I have become a better surgeon.
Melbourne is a fantastic city to live in, ranked high among the best in the world. It was a relief to find the family having a good time while I was working. Within the department the consultants are a cohesive, well organized and hard-working team, this provided me with a strong teaching agenda and a high volume of complex and interesting patients. In Melbourne you will find a solid paediatric surgical tradition to learn from, but at the same time you'll get the opportunity to get involved in cutting edge research. I was both able to develop my independence as paediatric surgeon, but also felt supported on the more challenging cases. RCH is a very busy place, the other registrars and fellows played a huge role during the difficult times and I'm glad I came out of this year with good friends as well. It was a great experience, wouldn't dare to deny how intense it gets at some points, but if you are up to the challenge of being part of a first class paediatric surgical team, I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did. I will look back happy for the time spent in Melbourne, the lessons learned and the friendships made.
After a year in the Paediatric Surgery department, I leave with the invaluable lessons of revered surgeons, an appreciation of how the concepts of dedication and science can be applied to paediatric surgery, the experience of being part of a hospital on the move, and, not least, the memories of friends and laughs. And, for me, Australia will no longer be an island continent on the other side of the world.
Enquiries about training positions in Paediatric Surgery at The Royal Children's Hospital can be addressed to
Mr Michael Nightingale
Head of Paediatric Surgical Training
The Royal Children’s Hospital