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What does it take to be a General Surgeon.

I'm currently in Health Science and have thought about being a General Surgeon. I really enjoy helping others. What are similar career choices just in case I'm not fully committed. options careerchoices medical doctor surgery surgeon hospital-and-health-care

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Suzanne’s Answer

Great question, Lauryn, since going for a career in general surgery is a huge decision and commitment. There are options to consider which might be viable ones for you to consider. One is going to medical school but then instead of doing a 5 year residency to become a general surgeon, instead doing a 3 year residency in a primary care field or emergency medicine. It shortens your training period by a couple years and would still allow you to help others in a meaningful way. You could also include some procedures in your practice and satisfy your enjoyment of surgical-type skills without the full-time responsibility of being a surgeon. Or you might want to look into training as an anesthesiologist (a physician who does a residency in this field) or as a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist).

Other options which do not involve the long years of medical school and residency would be going to school to be a Physician's Assistant (PA). Surgical PA's are highly trained both in the classroom and practical settings and assist the surgeon before, during and after operations.

Other options include OR tech work. These people set out the sterile surgical instruments before the operation and then hand the correct equipment to the surgeon. There are training programs, often at community colleges.

Other options if you wish to go the route of nursing school include OR circulating nurses and pre- and post-surgical care nursing.

Suzanne recommends the following next steps:

Once you are covid vaccinated, try to find a way to observe in a surgical setting. Ask everyone there about their role.
See if you can get a job or a volunteer position in clinical settings, particularly surgical ones.
Keep asking good questions like you are doing! The more you know, the more likely you'll find the right career.