And Yet Some More Advice for Future Surgeons

Getting into surgery can seem a bit scary, especially if you are not 100% sure what you are getting into. Luckily there are people who have gone through it before you. Here is some advice they have to share about building your skill set and keeping your eye on the goal:

“What I’d say to a medical student or a junior doctor is that they have to be very flexible in their approach to the work. They have to have an interest in a variety of things. It’s not just the actual subject content that you should be interested in. There are so many facets to medicine these days which are very much different from what they were so you have to have a teaching role, a political role, a research role and a sort of general knowledge role so you actually get to know your patient, to understand communities, to understand disease processes

“I think for someone considering a career in surgery they have to realise, first and foremost, it is a very competitive field out there. And they have to understand that to be part of the game they have to get ready and prepared and know what they need to do to deliver to be part of the game. So building a portfolio is essential and if they can try to do that at medical school level that is so important. So publishing, presenting, going to meetings, (…) – really it’s just understanding that you need to know what skills you need before you actually embark on a surgical career. And to understand whether you are going to be able to cope with the challenges which are changing all the time.”

“Look at the job at the end of it rather than just the training. Often people can’t relate to the people who have the job at the end of it because we are older, but they need to look at the job and whether that is something that they want to do. And if they want to do it, they’ve got to be the best. They’ve got to try to work hard on all different levels. It’s not just operating or getting through the exams. It’s things like teaching, leadership, research. It’s all the other things you need on your CV.  (…) You do need to have your CV be as good as it can possibly and take opportunities.”

“The consultant job is good. The consultant job is actually fun and doable. I don’t do private practice, I’ve got loads of time. I collect my youngest daughter from school twice a week. It’s fun. You don’t operate at night anymore. Lots of that sort of thing has changed. We just need to get the women through the training.”


If you’d like to read more advice, you can also check out our previous posts on the topic by clicking here and here.

Some More Advice for Future Surgeons

After a positive response to our first post about advice to future surgeons, we have put together another selection of quotes from people working in surgery, which we hope you will find helpful.

“You need to be hard-working, dedicated. You don’t need to be particularly academic or into research, you just need to work hard and be prepared to put the hours in. If you are, then you’ll get far. You have to have a balance of work and life and you will have to make sacrifices. If you are prepared to do that, then it will be fine – and it is definitely worth it. I can’t imagine doing anything else and I don’t want to do anything else, so I’m quite happy to make a sacrifice here and there. When you are a more junior trainee, it is a little bit more difficult with the hours that you have to work, but as you get a bit more senior… I’ve found that I have a great work-life-balance. I still go on holidays, I still go out with my friends all the time. I just watch less TV, so I can get my work done during the week and then have fun on the weekends.”

“It is not an instant glorification career. It’s a marathon run rather than a sprint. It’s not glamorous on a day-to-day basis like you see portrayed on television, but it is doable and workable and if you are prepared to put in the hard work, it is a very rewarding career to have.”

“It is a lifestyle choice, but it is a lifestyle choice I knew I was getting into and I absolutely love it and there is nothing like the buzz you can get when you have done something and you have done it well.  So how do you get a good work-life-balance? I think you have to have really understanding friends and really understanding family and you have to be really organized. People say ‘Oh, I bet you don’t get to do very much’, but actually I think I do more because I plan everything meticulously, so in my spare time I actually do something all the time and I am making time for people. I think it is easy. I do have lots of hobbies. If you want to fit stuff in, you just do it.”