The majority of a surgeon’s time is spent planning or performing surgeries, which are medical procedures that involve cutting into patients to repair and diagnose internal problems. Surgeons typically begin their careers as general surgeons, but they may choose to specialize even more, focusing solely on brains, hearts, or pediatrics, for example. Their daily routine varies depending on the practice area and setting, but it usually consists of a mix of patient interaction, research, and actual surgical performance. Because of the extensive schooling and training that these types of medical professionals require, they are among the most elite and well-paid. There is frequently a high level of risk, as even true experts cannot predict all possible outcomes and patient reactions.
Job Description for Beginners
The primary responsibility of a surgeon is to treat medical conditions performing internal repairs. The tasks that must be completed are usually determined the doctor’s specialty, but they all entail cutting into a patient, opening his or her body to expose potential problems, fixing or at the very least diagnosing those problems, and then stitching things back up.
Almost all surgeons work as members of a medical team. They rely on an anesthesiologist to keep the patient asleep and stable; surgical nurses and assistants assist monitoring the surgical site, passing tools to the surgeon as needed, and monitoring the patient’s vital signs, among other things. In teaching hospitals, interns and residents are usually paired with more experienced surgeons to observe and learn techniques during complicated procedures.
Work Types and Specialties
Surgeons can work as a staff surgeon in a hospital or as a private practice caregiver in most places. Almost all surgeries, with the exception of superficial procedures, are performed in hospital operating rooms; the difference is usually due to affiliation and funding sources. Private practice doctors have a little more flexibility because they can pick and choose their patients and schedules more easily; however, they also have more liability and their patient flow can be less consistent.
Surgeons in nearly every country are first trained to be generalists who can perform almost any basic procedure. General surgery teams are frequently staffed in hospitals to handle routine procedures such as appendectomies, cesarean deliveries, and benign tumor removals. More complicated procedures are typically referred to specialists.
There are numerous surgical specialties to choose from, but neurosurgery, cardiothoracics, orthopedics, and plastic surgery are among the most popular. Each has its own set of responsibilities and skills, and specialists are usually in charge of staying up to date on the latest research and trends in their field. Specialists may also seek publication in medical journals or books for their own discoveries or findings.
Surgery in an Emergent Situation
Surgery is planned in ideal circumstances. Patients with known conditions are referred to surgical experts, who will review their records and set up a surgery date that is convenient for both parties. Similarly, people who choose elective surgery — usually for cosmetic or non-life threatening reasons — can often customize procedures to fit their schedules. However, in some cases, the need for internal repairs arises much more quickly, necessitating emergency surgery. In an emergency, surgeons must act quickly and with little or no preparation to treat immediate problems. This necessitates a great deal of quick thinking and the ability to work under duress.
Family and Friendship Communication
While the majority of a surgeon’s work takes place in an operating room, the doctor also has responsibilities to the patient and his or her family when it comes to weighing the options, including open and honest discussions about outcomes and common complications. In most cases, the doctor’s role is limited to providing information. Though he or she may be eager to perform a particular procedure, it is usually up to the patient to make the decision — the surgeon’s job is to present the various options, not to persuade the patient to choose one. Patients who are terminal or who decide that the risks are too great may decline life-saving surgery, which surgeons must accept gracefully.
Many surgeons work extremely long hours, and those who work in hospitals are frequently scheduled for 24-hour shifts. Even doctors who work in private practice or on a consultation-only basis spend a lot of time in the operating room and are expected to collaborate with a variety of health care professionals to make sure their procedures go smoothly. Surgeons are usually in charge of a lot of paperwork, from processing patient files to reviewing records and, if necessary, arranging for insurance billing.
Specialized knowledge and training are required.
A surgeon typically undergoes extensive training. Practitioners must complete a surgical internship and residency in addition to regular medical schooling, which can take anywhere from four to eight years depending on the system; specialty training can take another few years on top of that. In order to keep their licenses and certifications, most countries require surgeons to take exams and demonstrate their abilities on a regular basis.