It is no secret that surgeons are among the most highly-paid workers in the world. In fact, the median salary for a general surgeon in the Unites States is $374,310. This has become such common knowledge that a lot of parents often wish their children would have aspirations in the medical field, in order to ensure their financial security in the future. But we seldom stop and think about why exactly surgeons earn such big bucks. Well, there are quite a number of factors contributing to this:
For starters, one of the root causes of surgeons earning so much money is because their education was expensive to start with. Even before getting into surgery residencies and fellowships, medical school is one of the most expensive post-graduate programs in the world. The median cost of med school in the United States is $250,222. This is due to the fact that the members of the faculty are also well-esteemed doctors and surgeons in their own right, and would naturally demand a much higher salary compared to other professors. There is also the fact that many lab equipment and training rooms are also incredibly expensive, with students needing to work with the actual equipment in order to get used to them
Aside from their extremely expensive education, there’s also the simple fact that studying to be a surgeon is incredibly difficult. Medicine, and by extension surgery, are very hard sciences, and studying them would take years of study and practice. The sheer effort and dedication it takes to master these fields cannot be understated, and medical students are known to sacrifice much of their time, money, and health in order to achieve the standards set by modern medicine. It’s because of the sheer amount of technical knowledge that surgeons have that make them earn as much money as they do.
As you can see, merely starting from the actual expenses of their education, followed by the actual grueling learning that they must undergo, that the reasons for surgeons’ high salaries are as high as they are are already understandable. But the reasons for them being so highly paid extend far more to their educational backgrounds.
To start with, being an actual surgeon is an incredibly difficult job. Study, training, and practice can only go so far, and in the real world, so many different variables and situations may happen in the blink of an eye. As such, it’s a very taxing and complex job that surgeons have to not only endure every day, but multiple times a day. Surgery is an extremely difficult job for these reasons alone, but there’s more;
Surgeons are not just surgeons. They are also administrators, organizers, leaders, and mentors. The most skilled of surgeons are also assigned administrative roles in the hospitals they work in, often tasked with the delegation of doctors to specialized teams, and organizing the schedules of both their underlings, and their patients. They are also tasked with mentoring and advising the new surgeons in their hospital, and leading whatever surgery teams they’re with.
Add all these together, and you also get extremely long hours, with most surgeons even extending until Saturday. Unlike other professions, medical-related jobs, including surgery, are practically around-the clock affairs. This gives them the burden of working more than eight hours a day for even six days sometimes, because of the sheer volume of patients coming in. Surgeons are then stretched to their maximum in order to accommodate all of these patients
These factors also contribute to the massive salaries surgeons are entitled to. Due to the immense difficulty of their jobs, it is only fair that their fees are incredibly high. A combination of the knowledge, responsibilities, and the fortitude to endure the stresses of the job truly make it one of the most deserved high salaries in the world.
Another surprising reason why surgeons are so highly paid is because of rising insurance costs. Most surgeons have complained about their salaries getting eaten away by hazard pays, that they have demanded their hospitals to pay them better reimbursements when insurance pay is no longer necessary. Of course, insurance pay is incredibly essential for when things may go wrong, but it’s also important to always reimburse a surgeon’s hard-earned money. It is only fair, considering that an unused insurance pay is a sign of the surgeon’s precision.
The fact that doctors and surgeons are so well-paid is one of the main reasons why healthcare in and of itself is so expensive. As people seeking healthcare, we are paying for the efforts, experience, expertise, and professionalism expected from surgeons. All of these factors combined contribute to the growing costs of healthcare around the world. While it’s tempting to attribute this to some kind of conspiracy about medical professionals simply seeking profit, the main reasons why they earn so much money are very valid indeed.
And that’s not even covering the salaries of specialized surgeons. While general surgeons are trained in surgeries in all body systems and age groups, general surgeons may be considered “jacks-of-all-trades but masters of none”. In the event that a person’s medical complication is too complex for a general surgeon, the patient is often referred to a surgeon specialist on the specific affected area or system.
Studying and training to be a specialized surgeon takes even more time and effort out the aspiring surgeon. They are trained to focus on all potential injuries, diseases, complications, and maladies that may affect their chosen specialty, and thus this means bigger educational fees, and harder work on the part of the surgeon. This inevitably results in their salaries sometimes being twice as high compared to their general surgery peers.
Regardless of what specialty a surgeon is, or what seniority they have, there is no denying that a surgeon’s career is an expensive and difficult one. The road to get there is difficult enough, and the road to stay in is even more difficult. Therefore, we must understand and respect that the money they earn is all well-deserved.