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How to Become a Surgeon in Australia?

Prestige, high salaries, and the knowledge to potentially save lives motivate millions of aspirants to enter the field of surgery.

From pop culture to uplifting medical stories, surgeons are famed for making incisions and operating on patients to treat their injuries and diseases, from lacerations to rare spinal cord deformities.

Because of these, despite its high cost, intense competition, and difficulty, being a surgeon remains enchanting for those who can pursue it.

Maybe you are one of them, and you have come to the right article. How can someone become a surgeon in Australia? Here, you will find out.

Starting from high school

High school students who aspire to become surgeons must complete the prerequisites of medical courses as early as possible. These subjects include chemistry, biology, physics, and advanced mathematics.

Even in their adolescence, students who want to become surgeons must practice leadership positions and community activities.

It is valuable for them to join charities and voluntary works at hospitals, clinics, medical research, and doctor’s offices. 

These will give the students experience and insight into the medical field, preparing them for the career they want to pursue.

Entering an undergraduate medicine course

Basic requirements for medical schools

After graduating from high school, students may apply for an undergraduate medicine course available in their university.

First, students must have an impressive Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. Many medical schools grant automatic entry for students with a rank of 99 above.

Then, the undergraduate applicants must have a high score on the Undergraduate Clinical Aptitude Test. This examination includes verbal reasoning, decision management, situational judgment, and abstract reasoning.

Selecting the right medical school

Once they pass the required ranking and the aptitude test, students should choose where to study the undergraduate medicine course.

There are many factors in choosing one; these include the university’s reputation, location, cost, and medical program. Universities may also require interviews for the applicants.

Applying for scholarships

There are many scholarship programs in Australia, especially for the native populations on the island.

One may consider applying to the Australian Medical Association Indigenous Medical Scholarship or the Aurora Indigenous Scholarships. 

Studying in an undergraduate medical course

Once they have been accepted into a medical school, the medical students will spend the following years studying medicine. Many undergraduate medical degrees take five to six years to complete.

Some medical schools, however, allow a two-year accelerated degree in biomedical science and health science. This program is succeeded by the four-year medical degree.

Applying for a graduate medical school

After finishing their undergraduate medical course, the aspirants must take the Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test. This annual examination (in March and September) will test them in biology, physics, chemistry, written communication, social sciences, and humanities.

The applicant’s grade point average must meet the criteria of the medical school along with a successful interview.

Studying a medical degree

Medical degrees in Australia typically take four to six years to complete depending on the students’ undergraduate degree.

Australian medical schools can be challenging, but students do these to survive and succeed in the field:

  • Medical students make friendships and networks of contacts. This way, they can expand their horizons, learn more, and unwind from the stresses of school.
  • Joining as a student member of the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Medical Students’ Association can give a medical aspirant the resources, counsel, and assistance he needs.\
  • Medical students can also be members of their university’s medical society. This membership can help them meet new colleagues, gain advice on the field, and participate in internships and medical events.
  • Being mature and well-rounded makes medical students manage their time and energy while studying. They also discover how they can maximize their skills and potential.
  • Medical students expand their knowledge by also reading journals, reports, and the latest research as well. These show students the application of medicine and surgeries.

Internship and residency

After completing a medical degree, graduates will spend a year in an internship. They will fulfill rotations inside the hospital and its departments.

After another year, they will enter residency. Medical trainees will spend more than a year fulfilling tasks and responsibilities in the hospital.

Entering surgical training

By the time a physician finishes his residency at a hospital, he can finally enter surgical education. The aspiring surgeons are a few years away from a career in surgery.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has the authority on surgical training and practice in Australia and New Zealand. Here, physicians train in public hospitals on the science of surgery and operations.

Unlike many national surgical programs, this college allows trainees to select their specialization early in their education.

Surgical students may study one of the nine specializations offered by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons:

  1. Cardiothoracic surgery
  2. General surgery
  3. Neurosurgery
  4. Orthopedic surgery
  5. Head and neck surgery
  6. Pediatric surgery
  7. Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  8. Urology
  9. Vascular surgery

Under the Surgical Education and Training program, the surgical students will study for another five to six years. In the end, they will become a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Finally, they will be authorized to perform surgeries and operations. They may further study subspecializations of the field they chose, and this means more training and perseverance.

Fulfilling their duties as surgeons

After spending more than sixteen years learning and training, surgeons will perform critical and potentially life-saving surgical procedures.

Surgeons must be prepared to work in high-stress situations wherever they may be, whether in a hospital setting or an accident scene.

Although they are erudite and scholarly, surgeons must be compassionate and approachable to their colleagues and patients.

Surgeons will become team leaders within the operating room, managing the nurses and the personnel towards a successful operation. After the surgery, they will care for the patients, examining the results and effects of the treatment.

Lastly, surgeons’ education does not end after decades of studies in medical schools. They continue to learn about innovations and emerging technologies in surgery to improve their practice and the lives of their patients.

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