Cardiothoracic surgery

Cardiothoracic surgery is the diagnosis and treatment (operative and non operative) of patients with disorders of structures within the chest including: the heart and vascular system, the lungs and trachea, the oesophagus, the diaphragm and chest wall. It includes the management of trauma and congenital and acquired disorders of these structures.

Vocational training in New Zealand

Vocational training in cardiothoracic surgery in New Zealand is undertaken through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). Once RACS training is completed the doctor is awarded the Fellowship of the RACS (FRACS) in cardiothoracic surgery.

Am I able to apply to work as a recognised specialist in New Zealand?

To apply for vocational registration in cardiothoracic surgery, you need either:

  • the FRACS qualification; or
  • an international postgraduate medical qualification, where your combination of qualifications, training and experience will then be assessed against the standard of FRACS in cardiothoracic surgery.

What standard will my training, qualifications and experience be compared against?

Recognised specialists in New Zealand must have general medical and surgical experience, and then complete at least 6 years of training, as well as satisfy certain other requirements. These are set out below:

  • 1 year of basic cardiothoracic surgical training
  • 5 years of advanced cardiothoracic surgical training
  • complete a minimum of 12 rotations during training
  • complete Early Management of Severe Trauma (EMST), Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient (CCrISP) and Australian and New Zealand Surgical Skills Education and Training (ASSET) courses before starting the second year of training
  • pass the generic surgical science, cardiothoracic surgical science, and clinical examinations before beginning the third year of training
  • gain experience in an intensive care unit before beginning the third year of training
  • complete a thesis before beginning the fourth year of training
  • have two articles published in peer-reviewed journals during training
  • attend cardiothoracic courses and Australasian Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ASCTS) meetings every year during training
  • submit logbooks to their supervisor every 6 months
  • pass the Fellowship examination on completion of training.
  • participate in the RACS continuing professional development programme.

Once a trainee has successfully completed all the examination and training requirements they will be awarded the FRACS in cardiothoracic surgery.

I want to make a vocational registration application

To make a vocational registration application, please refer to the Vocational Registration Homepage and select the option appropriate for you.

Am I able to apply for other types of registration?

You may be able to apply for more than one type of registration. To find out which is the best fit for you, please use our self assessment tool.