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Surgeon Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Surgeon, or Physician performs operations and other medical procedures to treat deformities, diseases and injuries. Their primary duties include removing or correcting malformations, repairing injuries and conducting preventive procedures on patients.

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Surgeon duties and responsibilities

Surgeons split their time between their office and in medical facilities where they carry out medical procedures. Their offices may be in a surgical centre, hospital or off-site in an office building. They may also share office in a medical practice with many other Surgeons. During office work, a Surgeon may sit for a long period of time, evaluating patients and recommending the best treatments. Other duties and responsibilities of a Surgeon include:

  • Diagnosing illnesses and injuries
  • Prescribing medications for preventive measures and aftercare
  • Developing post-operation treatment plans to promote overall health of the patient
  • Maintaining detailed patient records on paper or digitally
  • Working under the supervision of hospital administration to comply with facility guidelines
  • Adhering to safety and cleanliness standards in the operating room
  • Using surgical tools to remove or fix parts of the body
  • Coordinating with other medical professionals like Anaesthesiologists and Nurses to ensure successful and safe operations
  • Scheduling follow -up visits with patients to ensure continuing health
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What does a Surgeon do?

Surgeons are medical professionals who perform operations on patients. They usually specialise in one area, for instance, reconstructive, neurological, oral or paediatrics. The operations they perform can serve a range of purposes, including treating an injury, preventive measures such as removing a body part to stop the spread of cancer or improving a bodily process like digestion.

Surgeon skills and qualifications

A successful Surgeon candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:

  • Organisation skills
  • Time management skills for consulting with multiple patients at once
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work in team, as they are leaders of a surgical team
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills for forming positive relationships with patients

Surgeon experience requirements

After medical school, a Surgeon is usually required to complete at least three years of residencies and internships. Each of these experiences is a type of on-the-job training in which a prospective Surgeon learns effective patient interactions, proper surgical procedures and compliance with hospital policies. During a residency or internship, prospective Surgeons usually receive training from a senior professional in their field and earn a stipend as payment for their work.

Surgeon education and training requirements

Before pursuing a medical degree, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, usually in a field like pre-medicine or a scientific subject like anatomy, chemistry or biology. After earning a bachelor’s degree, prospective Surgeons need to complete medical school, which usually takes four years to complete. After medical school, Surgeons need to complete further training in surgical sub-specialities. During this time, they obtain a specific surgical qualification such as the Membership of The Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS).

All Surgeons who want to practise medicine in the UK must register with the General Medical Council (GMC) to obtain a licence to practise.

Surgeon salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary of a Surgeon in the UK is £50,404 per year. Their actual salary varies depending on their level of experience, the geographical location of the job and the specific medical facility they work for.

Job description samples for similar positions

If a Surgeon is not quite what you’re looking for, here are other job description samples for related positions that may fit your needs:

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Surgeon job description FAQs

What is the difference between a Surgeon and a Doctor?

A Doctor diagnoses and treats patients and is not usually trained to perform surgery, while Surgeons receive advanced training to perform surgery. However, they share some duties such as creating and implementing patient care plans, recording medical histories and monitoring the patient’s health. Doctors refer patients to Surgeons and Specialists.

What qualities make a good Surgeon?

Surgeons must be eager to continually develop their skills, learn new technologies and conquer new challenges, as the field of surgery is constantly evolving. They must be a good leader, willing to accept complete personal accountability for patient outcomes. A Surgeon must also be level-headed, especially in the operating room. They must have compassion and empathy for other people, along with humility. While they must remain calm under pressure, they must feel energised by the excitement of helping other people.

What are the different types of Surgeons?

There are several types of Surgeons. Neurosurgeons specialise in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the peripheral and central nervous system, infections of the spine or brain, vascular disorders, tumors, trauma and congenital anomalies. Paediatric Surgeons operate on children whose development ranges from infancy through teenage years. Plastic Surgeons are trained in specialised areas, such as body contouring, tissue transfer and laser surgery.

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