The Surgery Club- A Model for Development of Graduate Entrepreneurial Skills

Rosie Kakkar, Philip Nawrocki

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This paper is a reflective journey through the process of development of an extra- curricular project. A group of medical students on the St Georges Programme in their first year of medicine were keen to specialise in surgery in their clinical years yet to come. The idea of a ‘Surgery Club’ was thus born. Paperwork was submitted, to ensure recognition of the Club by the Institution, setting the bylaws, the constitution and a mission statement along with budgeting projections for the Term to come. An action plan was designed, which included recruitment of consultant and trainee surgeons in the region who were interested in contributing as instructors; the frequency & type of activities the students might be interested in; funds & resources for instruments required; remuneration for the instructors etc. The students were thus expected to learn not just specific skills, for example suturing, but also benefit from the process of organising events, time management and resource management. The long- term impact of the project was expected to be enhancement of personal attributes like critical thought and self- management, including entrepreneurial skills, initiative- taking, strategic thinking and team-work (Butcher et al, 2011). The entire process of development of the Club, organising its various activities and working in close communication with the students turned out to be an extremely rewarding experience, for it allowed valuable skills in the students, hitherto dormant, to be unmasked and also allowed the realisation of the immense potential and resource in the youth of today, redefining the concept of graduate entrepreneurship. Graduate employability is a topical theme [to be discussed at ‘Improving Graduate Employability: Ensuring students have the skills, contacts & opportunities to find work (London) Forthcoming Policy and Practice Westminster Briefing, hosted by the House Magazine on 14th Sept 2011] with universities being encouraged by both employers and higher education organisations to develop ‘key’, ‘generic’ or ‘transferable’ skills amongst their graduates (Mason, 2006). A framework for such employability and enterprise skills has been developed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) (UKCES, 2009) and includes, among others, functional skills, personal attributes and a positive approach to work and employment (Butcher et al, 2011). The higher education sector is in an obvious position to support this theme and therefore this model of utilising an extra-curricular activity to enhance the same appeared ideal. After running successfully for two consecutive semesters, the Surgery Club has a large membership and a regular schedule of events; it involves local NHS (National Health Service) surgeons from a broad repertoire of surgical specialties and also boasts of ‘suture clinics’ where trainee surgeons from around the region come in to teach the medical students some basic suturing and surgical skills. The Club is now looking towards the future, beyond the medical students and beyond Northumbria, for opportunities which may allow it to evolve and develop further. The next step is to assess the actual impact the project has had in terms of what it proposed to do in the first instance. Further work will be looking at reflective accounts from student members about their involvement with Club activities and organising focus groups consisting of students and consultant surgeons around the region on their perspective of the Club’s value in enhancing employability/ suitability of the students as future surgical trainees. Analysis of data obtained will provide an objective assessment of the impact of the project and whether the model could be adapted to other specialisms and subject areas. References- Butcher, V., Smith, J., Kettle, J. & Burton, L. (2011),’ A Report of Good Practice in Employability and Enterprise Development by Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’, HEFCE report. Available at (Accessed : 9 June 2011). Mason, G., Williams, G.& Cranmer, S. (2006),’Employability Skills Initiatives in Higher Education: What Effects Do They Have On Graduate Labour Market Outcomes?’, National Institute of Economic and Social Research & Institute of Education report. Available at (Accessed : 9 June 2011). UKCES (2009),’The Employabilty Challenge’, Available at (Accessed: 10 June 2011).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011
EventNorthumbria Research Conference - Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Duration: 1 Sept 2011 → …


ConferenceNorthumbria Research Conference
Period1/09/11 → …
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