The Best Things About Being a Surgeon

Surgery is a challenging career, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Here is what some women and men in surgery have to say about why it is so great to be surgeon:

“You’re changing lives. It is a real privilege. You get the opportunity to really engage with people at a really important point in their lives and to make a difference.”

“The smile on the patient’s face when you told them that you – well, not cured them of cancer – but that you had taken away that mass. I think you can’t do that in any other specialty other than surgery. You can’t fix something – of course there are medicines and drugs but they don’t give an instant fix. It’s so rewarding when you’ve done an operation and you’ve done it on your own. You’ve fixed that person. It’s brilliant. It’s a really good feeling.”

“I love how it’s different every day. You’re dealing not only with patients, I’m dealing with the parents as well as the children. It’s not a desk job. You’re working closely with physicians, the nursing staff in wards and theatres. What I love about it is that with surgery you have a direct effect on patients. Whatever you’re doing – you’re taking out that cancer, you’re repairing the hernia, you’re doing something with your own bare hands that helps that patient. … It’s fun, it’s practical. It’s intellectual and practical at the same time.”

“The best part of the job in my current specialty, which is orthopaedics, is that it’s such a team effort. Surgery in general is a team effort, especially in the operating room. It’s a flat system, there is no hierarchy. Anyone can make a call to say ‘oh, this is wrong’ or ‘you need to check this’, so it’s not a case of ‘the surgeon said it and that’s it’. … And also, there are a lot of people involved – Physiotherapists, nurses, occupational therapists – and it’s with the involvement of everyone, that team effort, that you achieve a save discharge for the patient.”

“It’s a wonderful live. It really is. It isn’t a job, it’s a life’s work – which is why I’m still doing it, even in retirement.”

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