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Did you always know you wanted to be a surgeon?

I really like the prospect of surgery but am hesitant because I am squeamish. I was wondering if surgeons always knew they wanted to be surgeons or if they grew into it, and gradually the squeamish-ness (for lack of better words) dissipated? #medicine #surgery

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John’s Answer

I decided that I wanted to be a surgeon after dissecting a fetal pig early in high school. I loved it! In college, I additionally was fascinated with neuroscience, so I thought I would become a neurosurgeon. However, after spending time with neurosurgeons in research at the beginning of medical school, I felt like my personality and career expectations did not fit well with neurosurgery. I then explored otolaryngologic (Ear Nose Throat/ENT) surgery and orthopedic surgery, and ultimately fell in love with orthopedic surgery.

All of that being said, there are as many different pathways as there are medical students. Some students are sure they wanted to be surgeons, but find their life path in family medicine. Some are initially drawn to pediatrics, but then love radiology. Fortunately, the way the pathway is set up, we have many opportunities to explore different types of careers - both in and out of medicine - so we do not need to know what we want while we are in high school. That being said, I think sound advice is to find something you are interested in and go "all in" for it. If your direction changes, think through the decision, and if you are led down a different path, then go "all in" on that path. By so doing, you will be successful in whatever you ultimately choose.
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Dan’s Answer

When I was in High School I read a book titled " The making of a Surgeon " and that got me thinking about becoming a doctor. I was talking about this idea with my favorite uncle at Christmas and he made the comment, " If you are going to be a doctor, then be the best, a surgeon! "
That was over 40 years ago and the best advice I ever received.
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Naiara’s Answer

Hello!


It is very exciting that you are considering a career in surgery! The advantage of having 8 years of school before becoming a doctor, is that you will get to experience all types of medicine (including different types of surgeries) and then figure out what field is the right for you. You could try to do some shadowing in a hospital as well while in college or high school. During medical school, you will have the opportunity to explore your interests and spend time in many different surgical specialties (it is a very broad field!). Some people may prefer small surgeries (skin, eyes, etc), while others prefers bigger/longer surgeries (heart, joints, brain, etc).

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Paula’s Answer

Hi Anna, You have a lot of time before you really need to pick a specialty. I knew from childhood I wanted to be a doctor, but was interested in many different specialties based on what I had been exposed to. I did do some shadowing/volunteer work in high school and college, and entered medical school having decided to go into pediatrics. During medical school was exposed to many different fields and decided on general surgery based on that experience. During the surgery residency(5 years), I decided on pursuing a subspecialty in colorectal surgery. You don't need to know ahead of time. Just keep an open mind to all the different opportunities to learn about different fields.
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Estelle’s Answer

I have been a gynecologic surgeon for 30 years, and I truly enjoy my job. I thought that I wanted to be a pediatrician when I started medical school, but I fell in love with surgery. I love the procedures and getting results. You will have plenty of time and exposure to different fields in your training. Really though, those squeamish feelings usually dissipate in the excitement of the operating room. Good luck to you!
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