University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
UOM Main Page
Apply - Admissions 2016
Medical Museum


TITLE Surgery

LEVEL 04 - Years 4, 5 in Modular UG or PG Cert Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This study-unit covers the clinical presentation, investigation and management of common surgical conditions. The unit is intended to consolidate the surgical knowledge obtained in the previous years, identify deficiencies in the students' knowledge, skills and abilities and guide them into their eventual role as foundation doctors looking after surgical patients.

During the four week clinical attachments students will rotate to general surgical firms where they are expected to attend their firms' on-calls, as well as collect and present a number of clinical cases (the surgery logbook).

Students will also rotate to the Accident & Emergency Department where they will be exposed to the various disciplines of acute care including resuscitation, acute and emergency medicine, pre-hospital care, trauma and disaster medicine. This will allow students the opportunity to consolidate knowledge acquired throughout their previous clinical years of study, to acquire essential and life-saving skills that will frequently be called upon in daily clinical practice, and to understand and implement a systematic approach to the timely detection, assessment and effective management of critical illness.

Apart from the lecture programme, students attend small group teaching sessions which provide a combination of information gathering and problem solving scenarios. The small group teaching allows active participation to enable students to apply the knowledge acquired in previous surgery modules into clinical skills. Surgical tutors will probe students to determine deficiencies in knowledge and skills and plan appropriate teaching sessions. In addition, students are also expected to attend ward- and clinic-based teaching rounds. During these rounds they should be prepared to present patients and answer questions about the disease processes and management plan of their patients. Thus the student learns by participating, under close supervision, in all phases of the patient’s care from admission to the hospital through final discharge.

Students also undertake a dedicated teaching programme in acute care which, in addition to lectures, will include interactive, case-based tutorials, practical training in Basic Life Support / Automated External Defibrillation and hands-on learning through simulated emergency scenarios.

Study-unit Aims

This study-unit aims to provide the advanced knowledge and skills required in the diagnosis and management of surgical conditions. In particular it aims at providing students with the skills necessary to formulate a differential diagnosis as well as an effective management strategy for common clinical presentations. It also aims to help students hone their communication skills. Through the clinical component, this study unit also aims to help students recognise and develop the right attitudes and behaviour necessary for effective and safe management of surgical conditions.

Finally, it aims to inculcate a spirit of dedication, concern and empathy, while exposing students to effective team working in clinical situations.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Describe the main clinical features and management of common surgical conditions.
2. Describe the investigative procedures used in the diagnosis of these common surgical conditions.
3. Briefly describe the spectrum of surgical care available to treat these common surgical conditions.
4. Briefly describe the common and serious complications of surgical treatment.
5. Briefly describe the management of surgical emergencies, especially in life-threatening conditions.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Elicit a complete history, perform a systematic examination and succinctly present the clinical findings.
2. Formulate a differential diagnosis for common clinical presentations.
3. Elicit and interpret physical signs which can indicate urgent life threatening conditions.
4. Demonstrate safe and effective basic life support, including automatic defibrillation.
5. Demonstrate a systematic approach to the assessment of a critically ill patient.
6. Apply a critical attitude to assess the value of surgical care in relation to less invasive forms of treatment.
7. Exhibit appropriate personal and interpersonal professional behaviour.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

1. Bailey & Love Short Practice of Surgery Russell RCG, Williams NS, Bulstrode CJK.
2. Hamilton Bailey Physical Signs Lumley JSP.
3. Essential Surgery Burkitt HG, Quick CRG, Gatt D.
4. Clinical Surgery Cuschieri, Hennesy, Greenhalgh.
5. Dunn Surgical Diagnosis & Management Dunn Rawlinson.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Placement

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
MCQ & Examination (3 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Anthony Zrinzo
Carmel Abela
Joetienne Abela
Andrew Aquilina
Joseph Borg
Gordon Caruana Dingli
Kevin Cassar
Charles Cini
Robert Cuschieri
Christopher Fearne
Arthur G. Felice
Dennis Gatt
Karl Andrew German
Godfrey La Ferla (Co-ord.)
Stephen Mattocks
Federica Sant
Mark Schembri
Stephen Sciberras
David Spiteri

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

Log In back to UoM Homepage