IAQ’s – Infrequently Asked Questions

- Sydney Shoulder Research Institute Fellowship

What is an orthopaedic “Fellowship”?

An orthopaedic Fellowship is a period of training that a surgeon undertakes after obtaining their specialist qualification. It is a bit like an advanced apprenticeship in that it entails on the job training and mentoring or teaching, both formally or informally. In Australia, many surgeons elect to spend time on fellowship either locally or in another major city (eg if trained in Melbourne they might undertake fellowship in Sydney) as well as internationally eg Dr Young undertook fellowship in France while Dr Cass undertook fellowship in the USA.

At SSRI, our surgeons believe Fellowship is a critical and pivotal year when expertise is gained and skills are enhanced. Not only skills as an orthopaedic surgeon, but as a researcher and physician in general.

Are SSRI Fellowships accredited by the AOA?

Yes, both our Fellowship programs – Sydney Shoulder Research Institute Fellowship and Sydney Shoulder Research Institute Clinical Fellowship are accredited by the AOA.

What are the educational goals and characteristics of your Fellowships?

Both the Sydney Shoulder Research Fellowship and the Sydney Shoulder Research Institute Clinical Fellowship balance clinical work, research and education to provide a broad experience covering all areas of shoulder and elbow surgery.

The SSRI Fellow receives extensive exposure to all areas of shoulder and elbow surgery including arthroplasty, arthroscopy, sports reconstructive surgery, and trauma. The Fellow undertakes perioperative patient care, assists with and performs supervised surgery in several leading public and private hospitals in the lower north shore region of Sydney. On a rotational basis, the Fellow also travels to Dubbo in regional New South Wales to assist with and perform supervised surgery in the public and private hospitals as well as undertake perioperative and postoperative consultations in rooms.

What is expected of an SSRI Fellow?

Fellows are expected to adhere to the Fellowship Training Program. Fellows are expected to be actively involved in regular clinical, scientific and educational meetings and attend a minimum of 80% of scheduled meetings.

Fellows are expected to initiate and undertake both individual and collaborative research projects which produce at least one paper suitable for presentation at an international meeting and publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Fellows are also expected to schedule any leave in line with that of the SSRI faculty during periods of closure which generally coincide with the NSW school holidays.

What is the average weekly schedule like?

The average weekly schedule for the Fellow comprises:

  • two or three days in theatre
  • two half days in clinic
  • one day undertaking research

The schedule operates on a 4 week rotating cycle offering ample variety, flexibility and opportunity for the Fellow to manage his or her research and study activities. The Fellow is permitted to take up to 4 x weeks leave from the Fellowship for vacation and/or conferences, however this is generally taken at prescribed times which will be advised of in advance.

Is there any “on call” expected as part of your Fellowships?

There are no formal on call requirements expected as part of fellowship. From time to time you will be asked to assist after hours on cases that may be of interest to you. We encourage Fellows to do so as this often proves invaluable experience.

How long are your Fellowships?

Typically our Fellowships are 12 months in duration. We have, from time to time offered 6 month fellowships, generally to local surgeons who then go on to other fellowships overseas, however we feel that maximum mutual benefit is gained through fellowships being of one year’s duration.

What are the selection criteria for Fellowship?

To apply for this Fellowship, applicants must hold a higher degree in orthopaedic surgery from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (or its overseas equivalent) and be Board-eligible. Applicants who also hold degrees in other relevant disciplines such as sports medicine, biomechanical engineering or physiotherapy will be favourably considered.

Applicants must be eligible for limited (i.e. supervised) or general registration as a medical practitioner within the State of New South Wales and hold their own appropriate level of professional indemnity insurance.

Applicants must be highly fluent and proficient in both spoken and written English. If an applicant did not undertake secondary and tertiary education at English speaking institutions they will need to provide IELTS results no more than 12 months old showing scores of 7 and above in all 4 x areas (i.e. Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening) as well as certified translated copies of both their undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications should these not be in English. Applicants are responsible for arranging and paying for their own IELTS examinations. Please note that availability for undertaking the IELTS examination varies from city to city so if this is a requirement for application it should be attended to as soon as possible.

What hospitals are part of your Fellowship?

The primary teaching hospital ie where fellowships are based, is Royal North Shore Hospital.

Other hospitals involved in Fellowship include North Shore Private Hospital, The Mater Hospital, Mater Othopaedic Day Surgery, Ryde Hospital, Dubbo Base Hospital and Dubbo Private Hospital.

Where’s Dubbo and why is it part of Fellowship?

Dubbo is a regional area some 5 hours’ drive or about 1 hour’s flight from Sydney. It is in western New South Wales.

Dr Cass and Dr Young undertake rotational visits to Dubbo every 8 weeks. Here they operate at the public hospital (Dubbo Base) as well as the private (Dubbo Private) hospital and see patients. Fellows go to assist at operations as well as sit in during consultations. Most Fellows find these trips to Dubbo interesting and worthwhile.

Do you get paid a stipend or salary while undertaking Fellowship?

Yes. Fellows are employed by Sydney Shoulder Research Institute and paid a salary of AUD 70, 299 which includes superannuation and taxation.

This salary is paid fortnightly into an Australian bank account. If you are an overseas surgeon (ie not an Australian citizen) you may be entitled, when you leave Australia, to be paid the superannuation monies we pay on your behalf by the fund to whom we contribute. In addition, when you complete a Tax Return at the end of the financial year following completion of your Fellowship you may be entitled to a tax refund from the Australian Taxation Office.

NB: we do not provide financial advice in this or any other regard. You should make your own enquiries regarding superannuation, taxation etc and decide whether this Fellowship (should it be offered to you) is appropriate for you and your circumstances.

What are the costs involved with Fellowship?

While SSRI does not charge Fellows any fees for its training, there are a number of costs associated with obtaining registration and accreditation as a medical practitioner in Australia should you not already hold this. Presently this is in the order of AUD 3000.

Applicants will also be responsible for any and all costs associated with obtaining a 402 Training and Research Visa should they not be Australian or New Zealand citizens. Presently this is in the order of AUD 400 for the applicant plus AUD 180 per additional applicant plus the fees of a migration agent should one be used.

How much does it cost to live in Sydney?

Sydney is well known to be one of the most expensive cities in which to live both in terms of accommodation and schooling. The salary paid by SSRI is intended to help cover the basic costs of living only. We strongly recommend you supplement the income we provide with savings etc and to make your own enquiries as to the costs you will face should you decide to undertake Fellowship in Sydney.

I am an international surgeon and/or English is not my first language, can I still apply for an SSRI Fellowship?

Yes however please note, you are also required to provide us with evidence of how you will be able to meet the Medical Board of Australia’s English proficiency requirements for registration:
(see: http://www.medicalboard.gov.au/Registration-Standards.aspx).

I’ve submitted an application for Fellowship to SSRI, what happens next?

Once your application is received it will be acknowledged and undergo preliminary checks and assessment. Should you be short-listed, you will then be contacted by email and interviewed by telephone. Should you not be short-listed you will be notified via email.

I have applied for an SSRI fellowship but have had a change of circumstances. I need to withdraw my application, how do I do that?

Should you at any time wish to withdraw your application, please do not neglect to notify us in writing as soon as possible to be fair to other applicants.

Where are past SSRI fellows now?

Many and varied places. Please take a look at our Alumni page for further information.

Can I speak with past SSRI fellows to get some idea about the fellowship and SSRI?

Please contact Jasmin by email to fellows@sydneyshoulder.com.au who will make this request on your behalf and make the arrangements. Please note this service is available to short-listed and appointed Fellows only.

I’ve got more questions about the SSRI Fellowship, who do I ask?

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Jasmin by email at fellows@sydneyshoulder.com.au

Applying for a Fellowship

In the first instance you need to contact Jasmin, manager of Sydney Shoulder Research Institute for advice as to availability of fellowships. You can email her at:
fellows @ sydneyshoulder.com.au

If a fellowship is available at a time suitable to you and applications are open, you need to complete the SSRI Fellowship Application Form and submit the documentation required.