|Scalpel’s shining example of student talent|
|Monday, 05 March 2012|
October 22 2011 saw 200 students from all over the UK descend on Manchester for Scalpel’s Third Undergraduate Surgical Conference. In addition to home students representing universities from Southampton to Dundee, we also welcomed, for the first time, international students from the University of Zurich.
Scalpel aimed to maintain the standard of keynote speakers that the conference has become renowned for. Delegates were fortunate to hear addresses from Professor Sir Keith Porter (the UK’s only professor of traumatology), Miss Leela Kapila (ex-Vice President of RCSEng) and Mr Douglas McGeorge (ex-President of BAAPS), all of whom delivered insightful and stimulating talks relating to aspects of surgery not often covered in the undergraduate curriculum.
In addition to this, we were also able to offer a fantastic range of workshops due to the generosity of our sponsors. Academic workshops included the ‘Fastbleep CV Clinic’, ‘Writing for Publication – BMJ Case Reports’, and a Q&A session with clinical academics. Meanwhile, the practical sessions featured orthopaedics, suturing and laparoscopic skills from sponsors including Smith & Nephew, Covidien, and Ethicon.
“The conference stayed true to the Scalpel ethos – to provide a platform for undergraduates to present their work”
In addition to the varied programme of speakers and workshops, we stayed true to the ethos of the Scalpel Conference, which is to provide a platform for undergraduates to present their work. This year, the UKFPO announced that presentations at ‘student-run’ conferences would no longer be accepted as valid presentations for the purposes of FPAS applications. The organising committee worried that this would mean a substantial drop in both quantity and, more importantly, the quality of abstracts submitted. However, these fears were not realised and an entire day was devoted to blinding and objectively scoring the abstracts on a number of criteria, which proved a difficult task as the standard was once again very high.
The presentations themselves sparked interest in the audience, who were treated to an array of papers from audit to research and case reports, covering all surgical specialties. The opportunity to ask questions of colleagues stimulated intellectual discussion and added to the other rich learning experiences on the day.
In addition to the conference, Scalpel held several other large events in 2011 and this has attracted attention from the new medical school dean, Professor Anthony Freemont. Scalpel has begun working more closely with Manchester Medical School and, with their support, is now exploring the possibility of running the conference in conjunction with the medical school or other university-based organisations in order that the impeccable work of students presenting at the conference can be formally recognised.
A new committee has just been elected from a pool of incredibly hardworking and talented applicants and it is with great pleasure that I will be handing over my role to Mr Grant Coleman, with whom I have worked on the committee for two years. No doubt he and his fantastic team will ensure the 2012 conference surpasses all expectations.
Francesca Liuzzi, Scalpel President 2011