Purpose and Mission
Surgeons are medical doctors who specialise in operating on their patients to treat illnesses, injuries and deformities. In a typical day, surgeons will:
Patients are usually referred to surgeons by doctors, GPs or other specialists in the medical field. They see patients who have been admitted via the emergency ward at hospitals. Some surgeons choose to be general surgeons while others choose to specialise in areas such as:
Performing operations is the main part of a surgeon’s job, however, they also provide consultations and before and after care for their patients. Surgeons generally work in hospitals and have private consulting rooms.
Surgery generally requires the most intensive training amongst all the medical specialties. Surgeons specialise in surgical training which can take up to five to six years, following the completion of their medical degree.
Steps for Becoming a Surgeon in Australia
Refer to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for further details.
All doctors that are trained in Australia or overseas must be registered with the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) to practise in Australia and with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which provides administrative and policy support to the National Health Practitioners Boards.
Surgeons must have strong leadership, management and collaborative skills as they usually work with a team of specialists such as other doctors, nurses and anaesthesiologists. They must have strong communication skills as they work closely with their patients and provide advice on preoperative and post-operative care. They must be able to explain the various treatment options available to their patients and be able to inspire trust and confidence in their patients to put them at ease.
Surgeons work very long, irregular hours, including nights and weekends, as they perform surgeries and see various patients on the same day. It is important for them to have stamina, patience and the ability to make quick and accurate decisions under pressure.
Surgeons are required to work to the highest professional standards and continuously keep their skills up to date by completing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs via the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Most importantly, surgeons must have a strong commitment to caring for others. Although it’s a challenging career, being a surgeon is very rewarding as they are often saving lives and helping others improve the quality of their lives.