The international cardiothoracic surgery fellow has a number of roles within the cardiothoracic surgery department which are a reflection of the skill and experience of the fellow. The primary purpose of the fellow’s position is to gain further surgical experience, consolidate surgical skills and decision making and to gain exposure to the variation in practice and patient cohorts internationally. On a day to day basis, this translates to operating, both assisting consultant surgeons and completing procedures, independently or supervised. The fellow is also required to participate in the on-call roster, which can require some assistance initially depending on the English language competency of the fellow. The requirement for the fellow to attend the outpatient clinic is less than that of a principal house officer due to the heightened requirement for language competency as well as the impetus for the fellow to gain more operating experience. It is also expected that the fellow share some of their own knowledge and experience by teaching and training more junior colleagues.
As an international fellow at The Prince Charles Hospital, Yusuke Tsukioka was an exemplary example of the qualities sought in a fellow. He demonstrated excellent surgical skill which he endeavoured to improve on with further operating experience and personal practice. He dedicated a significant amount of time to teaching his junior colleagues and was patient and supportive of them in this process, constantly encouraging them and imparting a sufficient degree of knowledge for them to reach a high level of competency. He also demonstrated leadership on a daily basis in his consistent, competent and kind care of his patients and was thus a mentor to more junior staff. He was especially well liked by the consultant surgeons, the nursing staff, and other members of the hospital’s multidisciplinary team, quickly gaining their trust which is important in being successful as a fellow.