Changing the Perceptions of Surgery

Surgery is not just struggling to recruit women – there has been a decline in the popularity of surgery among medical students in general. Luckily it seems that even brief and easy to organise interventions can make a difference. Rosemary Kozar and colleagues report on such an intervention in a short and interesting paper.

In their intervention, first year medical students listened to a panel of surgeons speak about their career satisfaction and lifestyle. The authors found that this did indeed change the perception of surgery. For example, the length of training was seen as less deterring after the intervention.

This study indicates that interest in different sub-disciplines of medicine might often be based on stereotypes and prejudices and that it is important for surgeons to be proactive and share their experiences with the next generation of doctors.

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2 thoughts on “Changing the Perceptions of Surgery

  1. When I talk to medical students, what seems to discourage them is the amount of working hours and commitment. However, I always tell to them that if you don’t love surgery, then you will end up resenting how it can consume your life. It is not a choice you make because you think you ‘might’ like it, or because you think it is ‘cool’ to be a surgeon.

    • This is an interesting point. I guess the difficulty – in surgery, as in many other careers – is that it is hard to anticipate how one will feel about a career in the future. For many people, commitment (and a willingness to make sacrifices) comes with experience and expertise, and consequently increases over time. Of course, other people will find precisely the opposite. People’s priorities change in often unpredictable ways over time, and it’s difficult – if not impossible – to account for this when making early career decisions.

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