Becoming A Surgeon: What Is Involved?

June 13, 2014

What Is Involved In Becoming A Surgeon?

In the middle of complex surgery! Training to become a surgeon requires the most extensive preparation of all medical specialties. Before you can be qualified to operate, you will have to go through a set of challenging educational requirements. This generally includes four years of undergraduate study, four years of medical school leading to a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree and then three to eight years of surgical residency, which is usually done at a hospital. Aspiring surgeons must earn an M.D. and obtain their license before they can start their residency.

A residency functions as salaried training and allows students to begin specialising. If you are interested in surgery, you will work under the supervision of other experienced surgeons in a hospital where you will gain experience working in the different surgical fields. This diverse experience gives you better insight into what to expect out of each area so you can make an informed decision when the time comes to choose. You will also be required to go through rotations, where you will learn the basics of patient care across a variety of specialties.

Overview of Surgeon Courses

No matter which university you study in, all surgeon courses have a common curriculum, which would include:

– Physiology and Anatomy – Physiology and anatomy are mandatory courses for all health care professionals, including surgeons. Students study how the body, blood vessels, bones, muscles, body systems, joints and major organs work. This beginning surgeon course familiarises students with medical terminology, including proper names for body parts, surgical procedures and surgical tools.

– Clinical Subjects in Surgery – Like the other clinical courses, this surgeon class familiarises students with each field of surgery, including orthopaedic, paediatric and urology, but through a lecture and research format. This course is taken over a two-year period at different levels of education, becoming more difficult as it progresses. Students demonstrate their understanding of surgical procedures through tests, labs and oral explanations. They also study surgical research to learn about the latest medical breakthroughs and changes in the world of medicine.

– Surgery Clinical Course – In the first and second year surgeon course, students rotate through multiple specialties in surgery where they are exposed to general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, paediatric surgery and orthopaedic surgery. This leads to familiarity with all aspects of surgery and fosters surgical competency. Although at this stage students only take part in minor surgical procedures, it provides sufficient practical experience to create a solid foundation for more advanced, interactive surgeon courses.

– Surgical Electives – Elective surgeon courses are typically taken in a student’s fourth year of a doctor of medicine program, where students choose a surgical field of interest and study it in detail through laboratory, research and hospital experience. Elective courses go into in-depth detail of surgical procedures and include caring for surgical patients and surgeons’ responsibilities. Students can see practical applications of surgery and learn how it benefits patients.

– Residency Training in Surgery – Residency programs for surgeons can take about five years to complete and give students experience in the actual, hands-on, practical aspects they need to become a full-fledged, licensed surgeon. Residents gain practical experience using specialised equipment to perform various procedures. This training period builds upon the theoretical knowledge and skills that students have gained through the earlier phases of the program. Typically, universities pair students with residency programs at hospitals and clinics in the area.

Work Description

Although performing surgeries will be a large part of your job as a surgeon, you will also be responsible for performing consultations and performing pre and post surgery check- ups of your patients. As a surgeon, you will rarely work alone. During any operation, you will work with a highly skilled team of medical professionals that includes anaesthesiologists, nurses and other specialists depending on the procedure being performed. A surgeon’s hours are generally long, including time spent operating and on-call.