- Care for patients who may need an operation
- You'll need excellent communication skills and the ability to explain choices to patients
- You could apply for senior/consultant roles & lead a team/department
As a surgeon you'll specialise in one of 10 surgical areas, like: ear, nose and throat (ENT), orthopaedic surgery, paediatric surgery, plastic surgery, trauma. You'll see patients admitted to hospital through the accident and emergency department, or referred by other hospital doctors and GPs.
- Spend time meeting the patient before the operation to decide on the best course of action
- Explain the procedures and risk
- Take tests and arrange X-rays
- Carry out operations with a team of people
- Carry out ward rounds and write to GPs about your patients' conditions and treatments
- You'll be responsible for training and supervising junior doctors and other healthcare professionals in the hospital
- You might also carry out research and write papers for publication
You'll work long hours including nights and weekends. You'll also be part of an out-of-hours rota system. You'll spend time in a variety of settings such as consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres and special units like accident and emergency. You could work in an NHS or private hospital and your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
This role would be ideal for someone with excellent communication skills, the ability to work under pressure and make quick, accurate decisions, excellent hand-eye co-ordination and practical skills, the ability to put people at their ease and inspire trust and confidence, leadership and management skills, and the ability to always work to high professional standards.
To become a surgeon you'll need to complete a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC), a 2-year foundation programme of general training, 2 years of core surgical training in a hospital and up to 6 years of speciality training.
You may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine without A levels or equivalent qualifications in science. The course includes a one-year pre-medical foundation year.
If you already have a first class or upper second class science degree, you could take a 4-year graduate entry route into medicine. Some universities will also accept non-science graduates.
When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) to check your suitability for a career in medicine.
There's a lot of competition for places on medical degrees. Most university admissions departments will expect you to have done some relevant paid or voluntary experience.
You'll usually need 7 GCSEs, including sciences, with 5 subjects at grades 9 to 7 (A* or A) and English and maths at least grade 6 to 5 (B) and 3 A levels, including chemistry, biology and either physics or maths.
You'll need to register with the General Medical Council.
With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior (or consultant) roles, go on to lead a team, or manage a department. You could also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.