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Interested in Surgical Specialty? Here’s What You Need to Know About Becoming a Surgeon

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Surgery is an exciting, challenging, and rewarding branch of medicine that entails a lot of hard work, dedication, and efforts. Becoming a surgeon is no easy feat as it has a complex training route because of different specialties available within this specialty. Surgery is a very competitive specialty of medicine that offers demanding and challenging career options.

Surgery comprises ten specialties which are further divided into sub-specialties. Being a surgeon, you will enjoy the intellectual challenges, work with multi-disciplinary teams such as anesthetists, technicians, nurses, radiologists, physicians to ensure the best possible care for patients.

Surgeon’s life isn’t limited to operation theater and performing operations. They also perform a number of duties such as undertake ward rounds, outpatient clinics, administrative tasks, and teach junior doctors. Many surgeons actively take part in volunteer activities to support teaching and development of surgery, undertake research, and different clinical trials.

Types of Surgery Specialties

When it comes to becoming a surgeon, the first thing that comes to your mind is to know the types of surgery and choose the one that best suits your personality. You can specialize in a number of specialties:

  • General Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Neurological surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Plastic surgery
  • Ophthalmic surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Plastic and maxillofacial surgery
  • Vascular surgery
  • Maxillofacial and Oral surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Proctology

You can specialize in any of these subspecialties but make sure you have an in-depth knowledge of the specialty you are thinking to pursue a career. As it will help you make the right career choice. To decide which field of surgery would suit you best is to look back to your clinical rotations. Think about the clinical rotation you enjoyed the most or what course you find interesting. For instance, if you enjoyed your emergency rotation, trauma surgery could be the right fit for you. If you enjoyed working with children, pediatric surgery could be a great fit.

Training Route to become a Surgeon

To become a highly qualified surgeon, medical students are required to complete an MD program from a reputable medical school. The standard medical degree which takes five years is essential to obtain as it gives you the basic medical knowledge and clinical skills you need to start to train in the medical specialty of your choice.

Foundation Training 

Foundation training is a two-year program that requires you to complete three-months rotations in different areas of medicine and surgery. Foundation trainee will work in a number of the clinical setting. This training program is tailored to help you learn how to work as a physician and decide what kind of physician you want to be.

Core Surgical Training

Core surgical training is a two-year program that requires trainees to perform a number of surgical jobs to gain the knowledge and skills required to become a surgeon. Core surgical trainees are responsible for working in different hospital settings with rotations covering a range of surgical sub-specialties. They are taught by consultant surgeons and specialty trainees.

Specialty Training

Once you completed your core surgical training and want to become a consultant surgeon, now is the time to undertake specialty training. It is a six-year training program in one particular surgical specialty you wish to purse a career in. Specialty trainees are responsible for teaching core and foundation trainees to polish their skills and knowledge.

How to Become a Consultant Surgeon

Once you have completed your surgical training, you can become a consultant surgeon. Being a consultant surgeon, you are responsible for handling surgical team and working with a number of teaching trainees. Consultant surgeons are also responsible for teaching medical students and helping them to undertake research, clinical trials. They also work in a number of hospital settings and perform different other roles such as advisors.

Essential Skills You Need to Develop to become a Surgeon


Successful surgery depends on effective teamwork. Since surgeons perform surgery in collaboration with assistants, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other technicians, they must be able to work in a team.

Strong Communication Skills

Being a surgeon, you should have strong communication skills to facilitate a smooth operation.

A Great Problem Solver

During surgery, you might face different challenges and critical patient condition that you have to control at the moment to save the patient’s life. Surgeons must have the ability to solve a problem quickly and effectively without putting a patient’s life at risk.

Maintain Your Focus

In order to work in the field of surgery, you need a high level of patience and stamina as some surgical procedures require more than five to six hours to complete. Therefore, surgeons need to be able to stay focused in order to avoid any fatal error.

Concluding Thoughts

Hopefully, this guide will help you decide exactly which surgical specialty is the right choice for you. It is a great idea to gain some shadowing experience in different surgical specialties to gain a clear idea of what an exciting surgical specialty entails and if it is the right fit for you.

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