Cardiothoracic Surgery

Why Cardiothoracic Surgery?

The practice of Cardiothoracic Surgery is a rewarding career choice.

Cardiothoracic surgery is a specialty which is around fifty years old – historically Cardiothoracic Surgeons are innovative and change adaptive. A trainee can gain an immense amount of professional and personal reward when fully engaged as a part of the cardiothoracic multi-disciplinary team which focuses on enhanced outcomes for our patients before and after surgery through education of patients to make positive changes which can impact on their lives.

The specialty is challenging and very busy; daily responsibilities comprising of a combination of ward work and in-patient review, major operative procedures, outpatient review, learning tutorials and academic / research opportunities are part of the daily routine here at Christchurch Hospital. The post-operative period provides the registrar with the opportunity to be involved in clinical decision making in the ICU setting an opportunity to apply your knowledge of physiology, pharmacology and pathology in the clinical setting.

Career prospects

There are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of Cardiothoracic Surgery as a specialty. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is the principal training body for the training and education of surgeons in Australia and New Zealand. Accreditation is given by the Australian Medical Council to RACS and standards for education and training are established by RACS.

The RACS Board of Cardiothoracic Surgery has oversight of the RACS Surgical Education and Training Program (SET) in Cardiothoracic Surgery. The SET Program in Cardiothoracic Surgery is designed to provide trainees with clinical operative experience in order to learn special methods of investigation and become competent in techniques related to the discipline. At the conclusion of the SET Program it is expected the trainee will be able to perform as an independent practitioner who meets the requirements of all identified RACS competencies.

You will need clinical experience and academic achievements to progress. Christchurch CTS has an excellent record of paper publication and presentation at national and international meetings, and provides a supportive working environment to facilitate progression. 

Kaimahi (staff)

Christchurch CTS is a small unit providing a comprehensive service. The unit comprises; 3 SMO, 1 SET trainee, 3 registrar and 1 HO. All members of the surgical team are encouraged to participate in the opportunities that the CTS service presents. On call duties are likely to involve night cover of surgical specialties to achieve a compliant roster.

The team is assisted by Senior Clinical Nurses. At present, Ward 10 is the Vascular and Cardiothoracic ward, and is staffed by nurses with expertise in vascular and cardiothoracic surgery. There is a Charge Nurse Manager and a Clinical Nurse Specialist on the ward.


For more information or general enquiries about RMO positions in the CTS please contact:

Graham McCrystal
Clinical Director
Tel: 03 364 0640

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