Are you a medical student exploring a plethora of career paths? Not sure which medical specialty is right for you? Are people around you telling you that you are a good fit for a surgical specialty? If you are looking to become a surgeon, you should know there’s more to the job than incisions and sutures. Here are the hallmark traits of a great surgeons to see if this field is the right choice for you.
All successful surgeons have impeccable fine motor skills since they need to perform intricate surgeries. Surgeons should exercise superior manual dexterity and the ability to cut accurately with surgical tools without harming patients. While hand-eye coordination and dexterity are innate skills, they can nonetheless be acquired and honed with practice. Activities outside the medical realm, such as tai chi and learning to play an instrument, can help you perform meticulous and controlled movements during surgical procedures. Additionally, a corrected or perfect vision and steadiness of hands are critical to the profession.
Like athletes, surgeons rely on complex physical movements to achieve their goals. Surgery requires physical fortitude and precision, whether it’s maintaining posture, lifting and lowering instruments, or fine motor movements. Surgeons also need strength and stamina to work long hours and stand during extended surgeries. Not to mention, performing surgery for an extended length of time can lead to back pain and a host of problems if the surgeon’s posture is not optimal. So, good physical stamina and a stringent exercise routine is required to ensure that their performance remains at its height throughout the day. In future, surgical practitioners may be required to undergo onerous physical training in order to improve surgical performance outcomes for patients. So, if you are someone who care about their own health and fitness, you are cut out to be a surgeon.
We cannot even begin to stress the importance of good communication skills for aspiring surgeons. All successful surgeons have a knack for communicating with patients and their loved ones in a quietly confident way, while being honest and understandable. An impeccable physician exuding arrogance and poor bedside manners doesn’t even come close to the definition of excellence. Since surgery is not a one-man show but rather a team effort, surgeons should be able to communicate with co-workers and be accepting of differing points of view. Lastly, good leadership skills are hallmark of the persona of a master surgeon. You should be able to lead, critically appraise, and educate, without demeaning or humiliating your trainees.
While a sound knowledge of your field is a must, the ability to adapt to the ‘new and evolving’ and learn continuously throughout one’s career is essential. No matter how perfectly a surgeon has mastered his techniques, they should be always willing to adapt when demonstrably better techniques emerge, even to the point of stop performing certain operations altogether when better methods of treatment have become established. Ethically, they should refer the patient to a colleague if they do not have the necessary skills required to practice. If you are someone who does not hesitate to adapt to a changing environment and believe that you will always harbor a commitment and enthusiasm for learning new skills and techniques, you would thrive in surgery.
A great surgeon is not only a great leader, they are also ready to accept the responsibilities and challenges that come with the role. While most surgeons learn to keep their teams motivated and facilitate their best efforts, a surgeon should also be able to accept responsibility. Afterall, surgery is a field that demands continuous improvement. So, a surgeon may feel comfortable discussing past errors and misjudgments in public forums and conferences to prevent their occurrence in the future. Students who can think on their feet, accept responsibility for their actions and occupy positions of leadership, are cut out for this role.
Not all physicians get a chance to make noticeable improvements in their patient’s life. In fact, it is the job of most healthcare professionals to prevent people from getting sick or slowly stem the spread of chronic illnesses. Surgery is a whole different story. When you perform a surgery, you can instantly remove cancerous growths from the head and neck, and then get a chance to put everything back together, which can offer instant gratification.