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What does a day in life look like for a surgeon?

I’m a junior in high school and I’m very interested in surgery. #medicine #doctor #medical #surgery #medical-education

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Rachel’s Answer

Hi Cheyanne,

The days of surgical residency tend to be longer than those of surgeons out in practice. As a surgical resident you arrive at the hospital between 5 and 6 am. You make rounds on your hospitalized patients and make sure they are doing well. You then report to the operating room and spend the rest of the day operating on your patients. About twice per week you will go to clinic instead of the operating room in order to see patients who need surgery or have recently undergone surgery. During training, the hours are long and you will work about 80 hours a week. Once you have completed residency, you will have more flexibility. However, you will still most likely need to take night and weekend call.

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Richard’s Answer

During residency, you have basically no control over your schedule.However, after residency, you can choose to tailor your practice to the lifestyle you desire. In general, surgeons operate two to three days a week and spend the other days of the week in clinic seeing patients before surgery or doing follow up on patients on which they have performed procedures. There will always be a bit of night and weekend call.

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Hossein’s Answer

It depends on what kind of surgeon you are talking about. While answering your interesting question also depends on other factors, I just give you some insights. You technically become a surgeon since the first day of your work as a resident in the program you got matched. The amount of workload, stress, and excitement varies across different residency programs. For instance, neurosurgeons have really long hours of surgery, they usually make more money but they usually are under a lot of stress and duress. There are some easier, shorter OR hours, and less lucrative residencies such as dermatology or interventional pathology. I am sure surgeons from different specialties would tell you that their surgeries are all stressful. But until they respond to your question, you can have some ideas based on my response as a GP or scientist physician. Depending on where you work as a surgeon or level of seniority, and the amount of work that you want to do on a daily basis, you would have pretty much the same daily life as anyone in any other profession. You can decide to work from 8 to 5, or take on-calls for the evening and overnight. As you know, there are two types of surgeries, broadly speaking. One is emergency cases, for which on-call surgeons are called for. Sometimes, there are hospitalists who spend their time in their pavilion in the hospital prepared to be called for emergency operations. Another type of surgery is elective surgeries, which are not a matter of emergency. Patients are usually scheduled for operation in advance. Unless you are a resident or somewhere with the shortage of surgeons in your area of specialty, and depending on your contract with the hospital, you can pretty much determine when and how many surgeries you want to do in a given period of time. You can do whatever you like for the rest of your time. Again, depending on whether you also teach and affiliated with any teaching hospital, you might have other obligations like teaching residents, medical students, or fellows. Attending physicians usually have a ton of research obligations as well. So, it might happen that you teach medical students 3 days a week for a class or two, then you do the rest of your time, switching back and forth between your lab, clinical trials, or the OR. If you are a champion and tireless, you can take some administrative job in the school affiliated with the hospital you are working in, or else be among entrepreneurial surgeons who invest on a wide range of medical, pharmaceutical, surgical products or services. Or else, you might come up with a new surgical device, technique, or idea, then patent it, then partner with some investor or entrepreneur, and make a ton of money for the rest of your life by solving a problem in surgery or finding a less invasive solution for some current practice. Good luck with your goals and do not forget to offer some of your precious time to pro bono work, because if it was not because of those patients letting us learn things from their precious bodies, we could not be doctors. So precious for precious, fair, right?

Hossein recommends the following next steps:

from MD, MA
Try to look at medical school’s websites and find programs for high school students! I know Johns Hopkins offers such programs.