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21 Jun 2024 to 23 Jun 2024

Anatomy of Surgical Exposure Course

Anatomy of Surgical Exposure Course

Anatomy of Surgical Exposure Course

Location: James Cook University Nguma-bada campus, Cairns 

This cadaver-based dissection course instructs surgical trainees and junior surgeons in the techniques of exposure commonly used in open surgical operations. It will be held in the modern anatomy laboratories at the Smithfield campus, under the supervision of experienced surgeons. 

James Cook University College of Medicine and Dentistry in association with The Cairns Surgical Society, Regional Medical Training and Queensland Health 

This is not primarily an anatomy teaching course; therefore, a high degree of anatomical knowledge will be required for successful completion and candidates will be expected to perform procedures. A manual will be available to all registrants for pre-reading. 

The curriculum will focus on open surgery. Candidates will be assisted with dissections and assessed on technical ability (knot tying, suture ligation, dissection, and anastomosis), anatomical knowledge, and teamwork. The assessments will inform an individual de-briefing exercise at the end of the course. A certificate of completion will be issued at the conclusion of the course.

What's involved in the program?

The Anatomy of Surgical Exposure is a unique course run over three days in the modern laboratories of James Cook University, in Smithfield, Cairns.

This cadaveric course has been designed to reflect all stages of a successful simulation exercise, so that the entire curriculum of general surgery, can be taught and learned in a simulated operating theatre environment. Each of the ten stations consists of two candidates, an OR theatre nurse, a complete set of instruments, and one or more senior surgeons as tutors and supervisors. The candidates are expected to do the operations themselves, with skilled supervision or assistance as required. Senior Trainees can expect to be quizzed on the details of the operative surgery. The performance of each candidate is assessed during the course, using the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (OSATS), and this will be used after the course to provide a complete debrief with each candidate.

Following feedback from participants over the last few years, the course has been adjusted to be more flexible in regard to the dissection program, and will offer choices dependent on participant requirements.  For example, some candidates may not be interested in the Craniotomy section, and may wish to do more in the head and neck section or vascular exposures. The organisers will endeavour to mix and match candidates and tutors to meet their requirements.

The philosophy that underpins this course is that there will always be a place for mastery in open surgery, particularly in the trauma or re-operative setting. Few trainees have the opportunity to see all these important exposures in the course of their training, and many will be uncertain about the anatomical principles that underlie these exposures.

This course will not be possible without the dedication of many senior surgeons who give their time freely.

Am I eligible to attend?

Applicants must be PGY4 or higher, and preference will be given to those who have commenced SET or other vocational training pathways that require surgical competence (eg the RANZCOG STP)

Acquisition of the GSSE or other evidence of anatomical knowledge (eg. diploma) is a requirement for registration.

Applicants who have completed additional post graduate courses or training will be looked upon favourably.

The course is open to a maximum of 20 participants. Due to the popularity of the course, applications will be assessed in order of receipt, with places awarded based on merit.

How much does it cost?

Attendance is $3,750 per person.

What previous attendees say about the course

“As tutors we look forward to being a part of this endeavour annually. It’s a privilege to have access to cadavers so we can support the development of our next generation of colleagues – an equally gratifying part of being a surgeon as the joy of treating patients! Steph’s hard work all year round is highly commendable. Hopefully, we’ll be there next year. Best wishes” Anon Tutor


“very great exposure. Organised and friendly coordinators. Looking forward to attend other course next year!” Anon Participant


“This was a great experience for me, being the first course I have ever been to! I had a great time and I learnt a lot! I will definitely be back!” Anon Participant

How to apply

Complete your application using the form below. 

Following your submission, please send your CV to

If your application is successful you will be sent an email with payment information by the NQRTH team.

Surgical Course Application Form

The hospital or health service you are currently working in.

By submitting this form you acknowledge your personal information will be used in accordance with JCU’s Privacy Statement and you agree to be contacted by JCU regarding furthering your education.

Please note, JCU will provide de-identified data to Sponsors including numbers of attendees, State attendees are from, and hospital attendees are from.

Proudly made possible by our event sponsors

NQRTH is an initiative of the Australian Government's Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) and is facilitated by James Cook University in partnership with public and private hospitals, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and GP clinics.

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