What does a Surgeon do?

surgeon working

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A surgeon is a medical practitioner or a doctor that specializes particularly in surgery. There use operative measures to treat disease, injury, or repair/remove body tissues, bones, or organs. These surgeons can be from various backgrounds. Examples include general physicians, podiatrists, dentists, or even veterinarians. No matter what their background is, their primary responsibility is performing surgical procedures or operations on some part of the human body or on an animal.

Watch a video and learn what a surgeon does:

How to Become a Surgeon

Becoming a surgeon can be a lengthy process. First you must earn a bachelor’s degree and then apply for medical school. Most medical schools do not specify a particular undergraduate degree, however, we encourage you to earn degrees in the Sciences. you are required to take an entrance exam called the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This is usually taken your senior year of college while earning your undergraduate degree; the higher the score the better chances you have. Once you are accepted into the program you attend an additional four years and then must complete a residency or fellowship training; this can last 3-10 years.

Medical school is very competitive therefore one most start focusing on academics early. High school students should take courses that focus on science and math; in addition to advance courses when possible. community service projects or volunteer work. This can increase your chances. For more information read the MCAT prep article on our free health career test.

Job Description of a Surgeon

Surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and preoperative, operative, and postoperative management of patient care. They must be knowledgable of anatomy, emergency and intensive care, immunology, metabolism, nutrition, pathology, physiology, shock and resuscitation, and wound healing. Surgeons can be trained in 14 different areas and are specifically trained in this during there residency or fellowships. It varies from pediatric, cardio, vascular, orthopedic, or neurological for example.

Surgeons are required to be on the feet throughout much of the day and work a minimum of 50-60 hours a week and maybe on call as well. The work hours can be very irregular and some days are longer than others pending on what surgeries are scheduled for that day. They work in well light and sterile environments. They are responsible for the surgery and leading all medical staff that are assisting in the surgery. Surgeons usually do anywhere from 2-3 a week, but can do more pending on the complexity of the surgery being performed. In addition, they consult and meet with their patients prior to and after surgeries to answer any questions or concerns.

Surgeon Career Video Transcript

Repairing injuries, preventing disease, even transplanting organs, surgeons are literally on the “cutting edge” of medicine. Unless it’s an emergency situation, the surgeon meets with the patient and listens to the problem. The doctor does an examination and considers medical history, lab work, and other possible treatments before deciding on the need for surgery. Possessing that famous good bedside manner can help in explaining the diagnosis, the risks of the operation, and the patient’s responsibilities before and after the procedure.

In the operating room, the surgeon is assisted by an entire team. They handle preparation, monitoring and other tasks, so that the surgeon can concentrate on the delicate work involved in operating. Besides extensive medical knowledge, being a surgeon requires exacting precision, dexterity, and stamina. Some procedures take hours to perform. After the surgery is over, the surgeon checks patients to see how they are recovering. Emergencies may result in the surgeon being called at any hour of the day or night.

Surgeons may manage a busy private practice or conduct research. They keep detailed records of patients and often write reports. Some develop new surgical techniques that they teach to other surgeons or students. This career requires a significant investment in education. Surgeons tackle a four-year bachelor’s degree, followed by four years of medical school, then 5-8 years post-medical school training depending on the surgical specialty. Surgeons make up America’s single largest group of medical specialists. Few people come closer to actually holding someone’s life in their hands than surgeons do.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Surgeons.

National Center for O*NET Development. 29-1067.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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