A career in...
A career in general surgery
Being a general surgeon requires successfully balancing a varied workload and providing a safe, patient focused service
General surgeons must have broad knowledge and the skills required to treat a variety of conditions that cover several subspecialties (box 1). General surgery is a busy specialty, with elective and emergency patients of all ages arriving 24 hours a day via the emergency department and primary care services. One quarter of consultant surgeons in the UK work in general surgery and perform about 80% of all elective procedures.1
Although the focus of a surgeon’s work is on performing operations, the reality is that most consultants spend only one or two days a week in theatre. The rest of their time is spent leading outpatient clinics, performing endoscopies, attending multidisciplinary team meetings, and working on-call shifts.
Balancing all of these tasks and providing a safe and patient focused service can be greatly rewarding, particularly when patients recover speedily from life threatening illnesses.
To succeed as a general surgeon you must