Students clearing the path to surgery

Griffith student sugical association (Surgia) president Elliot Dolan-Evans
Griffith student sugical association (Surgia) president Elliot Dolan-Evans

Australia has a dire need for surgeons, however the path into the profession can be less than clear with a Bachelor of Medicine or Dentistry only the beginning of the road.

In more established cities than the Gold Coast, student surgical associations are an important link between the profession and the school, helping students complete the extra learning they need and make the all important contacts in the profession.


In 2012 Griffith University medical student, Elliot Dolan-Evans got sick of trying to peer into a cloud and formed Surgia, Queensland’s only student surgical society. It won the Business Group’s innovation challenge at the end of that year.

“As a medical student really keen on becoming a surgeon it was frustrating that the next step was so opaque. I looked around at what was happening in other states and their student surgical associations were very important, not just social clubs,” he said.

More than just social

“Our organisation is in constant contact with the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS), we run workshops, skills evenings, lectures and symposia. It also connects us to the events being run at RACS Queensland and their evolving positions relating to skills and industry development.

“I think it’s especially important for women to join Surgia. There are very few women surgeons and little encouragement from the industry so women tend to turn away from it, that’s not good for the medical system and patients.”

A report released by RACS in 2011 found the industry had 4089 practicing surgeons nationwide and expected over one third to retire by 2025. The number of surgeons entering the fellowship needed to increase by a third just to maintain current numbers. That could mean some cultural change.