Surgeons are physicians who specialize in the treatment of injury, disease, and deformity through operations. Using a variety of instruments, and with patients under general or local anesthesia, a surgeon corrects physical deformities, repairs bone and tissue after injuries, or performs preventive surgeries on patients with debilitating diseases or disorders. Although a large number perform general surgery, many surgeons choose to specialize in a specific treatment area. Specialties include orthopedic surgery, neurological surgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose, throat), and plastic or reconstructive surgery. Like primary care physicians, surgeons also examine patients, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, and counsel patients on preventive health care. There are two types of physicians: M.D. Doctor of Medicine and D.O. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine place special emphasis on preventative medicine and holistic medicine.
There are seven major settings in which surgeons can put their education, training, and skills to valuable use: private practice, academic medicine, institutional practice, hospitals, ambulatory surgery settings, government service programs, and the uniformed services.
Working Conditions: Surgeons and anesthesiologists typically work in well-lighted sterile environments while performing surgery and often stand for long periods. Most work in hospitals or in surgical outpatient centers. Many work long, irregular hours. Over one-third of all full time surgeons worked 60 hours or more in a week in 2004. Surgeons must travel frequently between their office and hospital to care for their patients. Those who are on call deal with many patients' concerns over the phone and may make emergency visits to hospitals or nursing homes.
Education: Formal education is among the most demanding of any occupation with a bachelor’s degree (4 years), a degree from a medical school (4 years), and, depending on their specialty, 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs. There are 146 medical schools in the United States. Acceptance is highly competitive. Following medical school, the surgeon enters a residency that takes the form of a paid on-the-job training. After graduation, the surgeon must pass a licensing examination. 14.6% of all physicians are surgeons.
Requirements: People who wish to become physicians must have a desire to serve patients, be self-motivated, and be able to survive the pressures and long hours of medical education and practice. Physicians must also have good bedside manner, emotional stability, and the ability to make decisions in emergencies.
Job outlook: The growing and aging population will drive overall growth in the demand for surgeons. Growth is projected at 15%
Continuing Education: Advances in medicine, new medications, new technology requires continuous ongoing learning. Increases in the utilization of robotics and endoscopic surgical procedures requires specialized training as new techniques are employed.
Earnings: Median Salary $322,000 per year for a general surgeon and for orthopedic surgeon $443,000 (Medscape, 2016). Surgeons/Physicians 2016 median Wages according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year or $100.00 per hour.
For More Information:
- Association of American Medical Colleges at http://www.ama-assn.org.
- American Osteopathic Association at http://www.osteopathic.org.
- American College of Surgeons at http://www.facs.org.
Below, you will find links for several surgical specialty boards.