The Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) Surgical Education Research and Training (SERT) Institute was established in 2017 under the Division of Surgery and Anaesthesia, with the support of the Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) Chief Executive. It is a clinician initiative established to promote, assist and encourage the engagement of surgeons in academic and surgical quality improvement activities that will result in improvement in patient outcomes and clinical care. This initiative was identified to overcome barriers developed in recent years that impact on the capacity of surgeons to be involved in academic research, clinical auditing, clinical leadership, teaching, mentoring, clinical governance roles and processes  within the hospital.

In 2020, the Data Analysis & Surgical Outcomes (DASO) Unit at RNSH was integrated into the SERT Institute governance structure to strengthen and leverage the impact and influence of the surgical data and audit activity undertaken throughout the hospital.

SERT is affiliated with the University of Sydney, specifically the Sydney Medical School and the Northern Clinical School (NCS) which is located at RNSH.

Operational Plan

The aim of the SERT Institute Operational Plan is to provide a single frame of reference to guide the work of the SERT Institute over the next five years.

The Operational Plan (2023-2027) proposes six key focus areas and a range of future objectives designed to respond to the key issues which were identified during the planning process and ensure initiatives being delivered and coordinated by SERT and the Data Analysis Surgical Outcome (DASO) Unit are in line with the needs of the North Shore campus, the Northern Sydney Local Health District’s commitment to patient-centred care, and within the context of surgery, clinical audit, quality improvement, academia and training.

The Operational Plan translates the overarching key focus areas and objectives into planned and measurable actions and activities for the first two-year period to 2024.

Progress and achievement of the plan objectives will be monitored and evaluated through the SERT Institute Advisory and Operational Committee meetings.

Priority Focus Areas – 2023 – 2027

Our Priority Focus Areas were informed by and aligned to the following key documents:

Priority Area 1- Operations and Business

  • Ensure direction and future growth of the SERT Institute is aligned to the needs of the District in the context of academic surgery, clinical governance, business acumen and workforce planning.
  • Secure future infrastructure, accommodation, and resources to ensure the Institute’s long-term prosperity.
  • Develop internal skill capacity, increase staff engagement, and focus on talent and performance development to attract and retain a high performing team.

Priority Area 2- Promotion and Engagement

  • Raise the profile and presence of the SERT Institute, RNSH surgical departments and individual surgeons, showcasing major achievements and outcomes.
  • Continue to build and grow key partnerships, collaborations, and networks that advance the SERT Institute vision.
  • Increase surgeon engagement and participation in academic and business activities.

Priority Area 3- Research

  • Strengthen the capacity of surgical departments to undertake research.
  • Establish and foster an inclusive research culture across surgery, recognising the unique roles in different specialties and the extent to which they are already engaged in research.
  • Enhance existing and build new collaborations and partnerships to further support surgical research.
  • Widely promote surgical research achievements and researchers using a variety of media platforms and communications channels.
  • Mentor and foster a research culture with Junior medical officers.

Priority Area 4- Education and Training

  • Deliver and coordinate quality postgraduate surgical education and training.
  • Adopt a clear and transparent framework to determine surgical training pathways across the Northern Campus.
  • Facilitate the growth of clinical leadership to help develop the next generation of surgeons.

Priority Area 5- Innovation and Quality Improvement

  • Increase opportunities for surgical innovation through the delivery of structured programs and initiatives.
  • Support and leverage existing innovation and quality improvement programs within the District, promoting surgical participation.
  • Support the utilisation of project management tools to plan, develop, implement and evaluation projects.
  • Connect with external partners i.e. The Agency of Clinical Innovation (ACI) for project scalability and sustainability.

Priority Area 6- Data and Audit

  • Develop and improve surgical reporting processes through embracing new technology capabilities and trends.
  • Consistent implementation of governance and security measures across surgery data systems and processes.
  • Improve engagement and utilisation of surgery systems, processes and data.
  • Integration of surgical data assets with overall information landscape across the District and State.