Surgeon Job Description

Surgeon Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a surgeon. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a surgeon.


Who is a Surgeon?

A Surgeon is someone or a doctor that specializes in treating and evaluating conditions in the human body that may demand surgery.  A surgeon is a physician who is trained to carry out surgical operations or procedures.  It is a profession that demands phenomenal dexterity to carry out techniques that disease, repair worn-out tissues, or improve the function of a particular organ of the body.  It takes not less than 13 years of extensive training to become a general surgeon and those that want to improve can still further their studies on different specialties of surgery that involve cutting a patient’s tissues or closure of an injury sustained. Surgeries can be performed on both humans and animals to fix and diagnose internal challenges. Surgeries can be done to treat and diagnose injuries in the body at the hospital. A surgeon leads a team of doctors and nurses to perform a surgical operation in the theatre.

Surgeons typically work over 50 hours per week in shifts that can last up to 12 hours each. Shifts can be holidays, weekends, and nights. Surgeons stand for many hours while performing a surgery especially early in the morning. Surgical operations are usually performed in the afternoon or evening and then a follow-up check-up is conducted on patients. Emergencies do come up, so surgeons are always called upon even when they are having their time off with friends and families. The life of a surgeon is highly demanding and they sacrifice most of their time to meet up with the demands of the profession.

The workplace of a surgeon is mainly in the operating room and it can also be called a theatre or surgical room. However, surgeons can meet up with patients in the hospital room or office setup. The surgeon usually advises patients in the office setting.

There are varieties of surgeons for different parts or areas of the body. The following are names of surgeon specialists:

  • General Surgeon: a general surgeon is not restricted to any part of the body but can perform surgical operations on all parts of the body.
  • Neurosurgeon: this surgeon specialist deals with illness, injury, or disorderliness in the nervous system and brain
  • Obstetrician and gynecologist: This specialist has two areas of expertise. First of all,l treat pregnant women, deliver babies,s and take of the babies once they are born. The other area of their expertise is that they treat conditions that involve the female reproductive system.
  • Ophthalmologist:  this kind of surgeon performs surgical procedures for eye and visual impairment.
  • Oral and maxillofacial Surgeon: This specialist performs surgical procedures on the head, neck, face, and jaw.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon: The area of expertise for this surgeon is treating issues of the musculoskeletal system which involves joints, nerves, bones, arteries, and muscles.
  • Otolaryngologist: These specialists treat the ear, nose, and throat. They specialize in these three body parts.
  • Pediatrics: they are known as children surgeons because they treat children from infancy to teenagers.
  • Plastic Surgeon: this caliber of surgeons do cosmetic surgeons and also repair and replace body parts.
  • Thoracic Surgeons: they are also called cardiac surgeons. They specialize in operating the chest organs and heart.
  • Urologists:  They specialize in operating these vital organs: kidneys, urethra, testes, bladder, ureters, and prostate.
  • Vascular Surgeon:  They specialize in performing surgical operations for the circulatory system.

Surgeons use the following instruments to perform surgical procedures and they are:

  • Lasers
  • Ultrasound
  • Ionizing
  • Radiation
  • Probes
  • Needles


Surgeon Job Description

Below are the surgeon job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

A surgeon’s duties and responsibilities may vary based on His/her area of specialization but here are some duties that a surgeon may perform:

  • Examine the patient and make a diagnosis to decide the need for surgery
  • Gather patient past medical records and plan the best procedure for treatment
  • Keep the patient current test result with the patient’s history
  • Order new tests to be performed on the patient by other medical personnel
  • Assess test results to detect  and diagnose medical conditions
  • Address the patient’s family and also give them room to ask questions
  • Performs surgical operations to prevent or correct disease, deformities, and injury while strictly following regulatory and ethical principles.
  • Oversee all treatment before and after surgery, and detect the risk involved
  • Reviewing patient x-ray and informing patients about the procedure of the surgery and preparing for the surgery.
  • Adhere to established surgical techniques or guidelines during surgery
  • Administer preoperative and postoperative treatment and procedures.
  • Ensures that all surgical instruments are sterilized in the surgical room.
  • Direct and coordinate the activities of hospital personnel for proper patient care.
  • Partner with another team of medical professionals or personnel to complete a surgery.
  • Maintain the highest form of respect for patient dignity by putting into cognizance his/her country’s right for the
  • Organize and implement disease /illness prevention programs that will promote health and wellness.
  • Organize follow-up meetings with patients and strictly monitor patients’ health after surgery.
  • Conduct research to improve surgical procedures and test surgical techniques.


Surgeon Qualifications

There are certain qualifications that someone must have before he/she can be regarded as a surgeon in every part of the world. There might be some little discrepancies in terms of qualification in some parts of the world but here is the generally acceptable qualification of a surgeon:

  • A 5-year degree in medicine that is recognized by the General Medical Council of any country
  • A 2-year foundational program of general training
  • 2 years of extensive surgical training in a hospital
  • 6 years of specialist training


Essential Skills

Being a surgeon is not just about medical knowledge but there are some salient skills you need to excel in this career and they are:

  • Good Motor Skill: Hand-to-eye coordination and manual dexterity are very vital for skills for cutting tumors, stitching wounds, and cutting another part of the skin. You need to keep your hands very steady to avoid colossal damage that can cause a fatal accident.
  • Teamwork: a surgeon must be a good team player because he cannot be an island of himself. Other team members that collaborate in the surgical operation room are: nurses, doctors, assistants, and other professionals present at the scene.
  • Communication Skills: Great communication skill is highly paramount for a smooth surgical operation.  A surgeon needs the help of others to complete the job; communicating to his team members openly and professional is a requisite.
  • Patience and Stamina: this is one of the core skills a surgeon needs to help him perform long surgical operations. Some operations such as spinal cord injury can last for 14 hours and other operations usually last for 5-6 hours, a surgeon must stay focused to avoid any colossal damage or accident.
  • Problem-Solving: at times events in a surgical theatre can take another route and a surgeon needs to have quick problem-solving skills to salvage the situation; not doing so can put lives at risk.
  • Leadership Skill: as a surgeon, you are automatically the team leader in a surgical operation. You need to be in charge and make your team members follow the instructions you give to them. You need to possess good leadership skills to carry out a smooth surgical operation.
  • Compassion: You need to show compassion to patients that are suffering from severe conditions. The level of compassion you have will serve as a driving force to make you save the patients’ life at all costs.
  • Organizational Skill: a Surgeon should always do things in order by following the appropriate way. You must be organized as a surgeon and this will make you not do this haphazardly.  Follow a step-by-step guide when performing a surgical operation in order not to make mistakes.
  • Emotional Stability: As a surgeon, you must stabilize your emotions because you are in charge. For instance, it is not good for a surgeon to shed tears if a patient passed away during a surgical operation. You must always checkmate your emotion as a surgeon.
  • Confidence: you need to have faith in yourself when performing a surgical operation. The level of confidence you exhibit will motivate your team and the patient that all will be well against all odds. You should use words like “we can do it” and “you can make it” at the surgical theatre.
  • Critical Thinking: A surgeon needs to think very deeply to come up with phenomenal ideas that can help in the treatment decisions.
  • Attention to detail:  A surgeon needs to be highly observant to notice symptoms or irregularities during an operation.
  • Excellent decision-making skills
  • Time management skill


How to Become a Surgeon

The path to becoming a surgeon is formal and extensive. The steps to becoming a surgeon are:

College (University): the first step is to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medical or any science-related course.

  • Medical College Admission Test: students that want to be surgeons must pass this exam before proceeding to medical school.
  • Excel in Medical School: the next step is to spend four years of medical school. The curriculum includes clinical rotations and coursework. You may also spend some time in medical school; do your best to excel in medical school.
  • Pass a License Exams:  To be certified as a surgeon you need to pass your license exams first. For instance, in a country like the United State of America, Medical Graduates with an MD take the United States Medical Licensing Examination.
  • Surgical Specialty and Residency:  After graduation, doctors need to decide which area they want to specialize in and then go for their residency program. Some areas of specialties may require additional exams to scale through.
  • Get a State License to Practice: All states require surgeons to have their license though the requirements may vary across different states.
  • Consider a Fellowship: a surgeon can join any medical fellowship to acquire skills in a particular specialty. Although this is not a requirement it will increase your earning potential upon completion
  • Prepare a Resume or C.V

To apply for jobs in the medical field, you will need to draft your Curriculum vita that shows all your education, experience, training, and publication. C.V can be several pages long; make sure you get a professional that will proofread it for you. You can drop your C.V in any hospital or institution that may request it.

The surgical residency lasts for 5 years other than medicine and after surgical residency; doctors can start working as surgeons.


Where to Work?

The surgeon is a sought-after profession and there are diverse places that a surgeon can work. A Surgeon can never be stranded to get a placement to showcase his/her capabilities because the demand for the profession is too high.

Surgeons can work in different settings and they are:

  • Hospital: A surgeon can start his career by working in a hospital; this is the most common place a surgeon can work. It can be a government or private hospital.
  • Private Practice: A surgeon can decide to be his/her boss by establishing his hospital to reach out to patients. A surgeon that wants to take this route must register the hospital to operate legally.
  • Academic Institutions:  A certified surgeon can work in college by training other medical students in teaching hospitals or those doing their residency.
  • Surgery Centers: different centers have been designated specifically for surgery and a surgeon can start his career in one of those centers. This is highly beneficial because the surgeon gets to meet with a group of experts that  coach his/her career,
  • Military Service: A surgeon can work in a military base or camp where he/she will perform surgical operations on soldiers that have been injured as a result of war.
  • Outreach: A surgeon can join a Non-Governmental Organization( NGO) that goes for outreach in poor countries of the world and offers free medical services or cheap medical services to those countries.
  • Ambulatory
  • Institutional Service


Salary Scale

A surgeon’s average salary is $217,118 per year through salaries from $42,000 to $533,000 per year. Salaries of surgeons vary based on the geographical location they are in and also depending on their level of experience that is to say if they specialize or not. The size and facility of the organization can affect the surgeon’s salary.

Job Description

Leave a Reply