Imagine finishing over sixteen years of dreaming and studying to become a surgeon. How can words describe such a happy thought?
All of the sleepless nights, terrifying exam reviews, and sacrifices paid off as the newly hailed surgeons get their accreditation.
But this is only the beginning of their surgical career: they need to practice surgery. How do surgeons get the right to operate at a hospital?
To answer this, we have to go back to how surgeons begin and land at the hospital since aspiring surgeons must first get the right to operate.
Finishing an undergraduate course on medicine
Australian universities offer undergraduate medical courses that high school graduates can enroll.
Such programs will give prospective physicians and surgeons the advantage and expertise they can use someday in graduate medical school.
To be accepted in an undergraduate medical course, they must first pass the Undergraduate Clinical Aptitude Test and the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank requirements. The students must also be successful in the interview.
They will spend the next five to six years finishing this course. Here, the students will master the applications of biology, health care, and medical technology.
Competing a graduate medical degree
After graduating, the Australian applicants must have high points in the Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test and the average criteria.
Then, aspiring surgeons will study in a graduate medical school for another four to six years. This step is crucial in becoming a physician and, eventually, a surgeon.
Once admitted into a medical school, the students will digest dense medical facts on human pathology, physiology, anatomy, and pharmacology.
Then, they will spend their third and fourth years in hospital rotations. The medical students will experience working at hospitals and observing medicine in practice.
Successfully passing the internship and the residency
After finishing their graduate medical degree, the medical students will enter a year of internship followed by a residency.
During these years, they will conduct hospital rotations and perform the tasks of doctors. These stages are intense: internship and residency will drain their time, energy, and strength.
But the journey is not over yet for aspiring surgeons.
Studying to become a surgeon
After finishing their internship and residency, the physicians will then enter surgical training.
Under the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, they will work at public hospitals while training in surgical science. They can also pursue specializations early on.
Once they complete their studies after five to six years, the physicians will be accredited as Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
After at least sixteen years of rigorous training and exhausting studies, these physicians can finally call themselves surgeons. But in which hospital can they practice? How do they get the right to operate at a particular hospital?
Following their journey to the surgical field, it is evident that they already spent internship and residency at hospitals.
If they had proven their excellence and abilities at those facilities, the administration may hire them as surgeons at the hospital. They will be employed at the hospital, gaining the right to operate there.
But this is the best-case scenario for the new surgeons. Like the rest of the workforce, they have to apply for surgeon positions and assignments at different hospitals.
Applying to a hospital is not an issue.
Because of this, surgeons can apply to the hospitals that want to hire new ones. Hospitals may even employ headhunters to look for qualified surgeons who can work for them.
How can surgeons operate at a hospital?
It is not enough to be a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to be hired. The applicant surgeons must impress the hospital administration and prove that they deserve to get hired there.
Surgeons are already trained rigorously at medical school, so they are expected to ace the medical interview. The applicants must have mastered the following pre-requisites in the surgical field:
- Assessing which surgical operation is appropriate for the patients’ conditions;
- Explaining the details of the surgery to the patients;
- Conducting surgeries;
- Understanding the patients’ histories, state, and recovery;
- Consulting with anesthesiologists and medical specialists towards the success of the operation;
- Evaluating the surgical tools and equipment and ensuring their sterility; and
- Leading the nurses and operating room personnel.
To achieve this, surgeons must have core traits in the industry: leadership, intrapersonal skill, meticulousness, patients, critical thinking, technical knowledge, and perseverance.
The surgeons must also be accredited for their specialization and even deeper studies. Now, having a subspecialization can lead to higher salaries and greater demand for employment.
For example, pediatric surgeons who also studied the minimal access surgery subspecialization have an advantage over their contemporaries who only practice general pediatric surgery.
The challenges in getting the right to operate
Location can be a hurdle in a surgeon’s employment. In Australia, some medical analysts predict that cities might soon be oversaturated with doctors.
Since more Australians finish medical school and practice in major population centers, there is a risk that medical practitioners’ salaries and career interests will decline.
On the other hand, high salaries for surgeons may seem elusive in rural areas and hospitals.
Because of this, new surgeons must have a strong network of contacts and colleagues. Through referrals and patient application, they can overcome the looming hindrances to operate in hospitals.
Just like when they applied for medical schools, new surgeons must have a remarkable portfolio.
Having high grades, graduating with distinction, and performing excellently during residency can help them get the right to operate at the particular hospital where they want to work.
After all, hospital administrators already know where new surgeons have come from the years and costs they spent in medical school.
But they want competent yet pleasant surgeons who can provide quality health care, potentially saving lives.
That way, the new surgeons will not only get the right to operate, but they will get the honor to handle the patients’ lives.