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Helping you find a career as a Surgeon

A surgeon operates on patients in order to treat a disease or injury. Skill and patience are required as surgery involves complex procedures on and in the body. This can mean you are directly responsible or saving peoples lives or improving their quality of life. It can be stressful job but hugely rewarding.


What does a Surgeon do?
A surgeon will:
  • Access and examine patients to judge suitability for operation

  • Operate on patients to improve and restore bodily functions

  • Work closely with a team to ensure operations are a success

  • Undertake ward rounds to check-up on your patients regularly

  • Refer patients to other medical specialists or practitioners

  • Undertake associated administrative work
What skills and interests should an Surgeon have?
A surgeon will need many skills, including:
  • Technical knowledge and expertise

  • Manual dexterity

  • Strong hand-eye coordination

  • Good problem solving skills

  • Effective time management skills

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Strong leadership and negotiation skills

  • Ability to remain calm and controlled under pressure

  • Confidence and awareness of own limitations

  • Professional integrity and honesty towards patients

  • A calm, reassuring and friendly manner
What hours does a Surgeon typically do?
A surgeon will work long unsociable hours, including nights and weekends, as there is no telling how long an ostensibly simple operation may take. You may also be asked to be on-call at night and at weekends on a rota basis.
What environment is a Surgeon based in?
A surgeon will be based in a hospital and will perform operations in an operating theatre, although they may sometimes be required to operate on patients out of the hospital in emergency situations.
How much does a Surgeon travel?
Although a surgeon is typically based in a hospital, they may have to travel to attend surgical conferences, additional training courses or to give lectures on their experience and expertise.
How much does a Surgeon get paid?
A junior doctor in their first foundation year will earn a basic starting salary of £26,614 per annum. The basic salary for surgeons with a particular area of expertise (called specialist doctors) will be between £37,000 and £70,000 while newly qualified consultants can earn at least £76,000, rising into six figures depending on experience and length of service.
Perks & benefits
With the relevant experience, there are many opportunities for promotion within the sector. You will have opportunities to take on managerial roles, clinical directorship roles, or medical directorship roles, in which you would be a lead consultant for a hospital trust. You could also move to scientific research or academic careers.
What qualifications does a Surgeon need?
To become a surgeon, it is essential you have a degree in medicine recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC). This typically takes five years to complete.

Following the obtaining of your medical degree, you will be expected to complete two years of foundation training in a hospital as a junior doctor in different departments, including surgery. After this is obtained, you can begin surgery training, which may last between two to eight years. You may then move into speciality training.
Further reading
Surgical training is highly competitive so work experience is highly beneficial to your CV. While at medical school you could become a member of your university's surgical society and attend their events and networking sessions. See the Royal College of Surgeons' advice on improving your chances of entering surgical training.
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