What do they do?
Surgeons perform surgery to correct deformities, repair injuries, prevent and treat diseases, and improve human functioning and appearance.
If you have a steady hand, an inquiring mind, and work well under intense pressure then surgeon might be the career for you.
- examine patients to determine medical state, necessity of surgery, and surgical risk
- analyse patient medical history, allergies and examination results to decide best courses of action
- consulting with Anaesthetists regarding the correct anaesthesia for patients
- selecting the best operational procedures and performing operations
- prescribe pre-operative and post-operative treatments to patients including sedatives and antibiotics
- refer patients to other medical specialists and exchange relevant medical details
- explaining risks to patients
- examining instruments, equipment, and surgical set-up to ensure that antiseptic and aseptic methods have been followed
- instructing other medical, nursing and associated staff regarding the preparation of patients and instrument and equipment requirements
- prescribing post-operative care, and observing and investigating patients’ progress
- maintaining records of operations performed
- may specialise in particular types of operations
- good communication skills
- high ethical standards
- compassionate towards others
- high level of motivation and self-discipline
- excellent hand-eye coordination, excellent vision and visuospatial awareness
- above average dexterity
- good organisational ability and decision-making skills
- emotional resilience, a calm temperament and the ability to work well under pressure
- physical stamina to cope with the demands of surgery
- the ability to lead and manage a team effectively
Surgery is a challenging and rewarding career, requiring commitment, discipline and compassion. Surgical training usually takes five to six years following completion of a medical degree.
The steps are:
- Complete a medical degree & internship, obtain medical license
- Work and train in a clinical setting as a resident – usually a hospital – for two to three years.
- Apply to the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) Surgical Education and Training (SET) program (or other accredited course) during your third ‘postgraduate’ year (PGY3) after university.
- If your application to enter SET is successful, you will choose to train in one of the nine surgical specialties including (5+ years full-time):
- Cardiothoracic Surgery – surgery inside the chest including heart and lungs
- General Surgery – abdominal contents including oesophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, appendix and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland
- Neurosurgery – nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and extra-cranial cerebrovascular system.
- Orthopaedic Surgery – muscles and bones
- Otolaryngology – head and neck surgery
- Paediatric Surgery – surgeries on babies, children and adolescents
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Urology – kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate, urethra, testes
- Vascular Surgery – arteries and veins
- Receive fellowship
- This training occurs primarily in public hospitals and usually takes at least five or six years. Following successful completion of SET you will become a Fellow and be accredited to practise independently as a surgeon.
Varies depending on speciality, institution, location, overtime and bonuses.
General Surgeon $154,027 (Source: payscale.com)
Neurosurgeon: $242,200 (range $60,402 to $502,004) (Source: MEDIQ Financial Services)
Surgeons $398,866 (Source: advancedmed.com.au)
Future growth: stable (source: Joboutlook.gov.au)