7 Reasons Why You Should be a Surgeon

I’ve been asked many times why I chose the path of surgery. The esoteric, philosophical, mightier-than-thou answer would be “Well, I didn’t choose surgery. Surgery CHOSE me.” Somehow the conversation falls flat after I say things like that. So for practical reasons people can understand, here are some reasons why:

1. No traffic jams.
Yes. That’s right. With surgery, your day begins with 6am (or so) ward rounds, and ends sometime between 8pm and midnight, or you may not even make it home. Which means that you get the joy of driving to work when everyone is still asleep or watching Glee on TV. No traffic jams. No honking. No stressed out road rage. No queues at MacDonald’s drive through. Isn’t that great?

2. No public holiday shopping nightmares.
As a surgical trainee, you get to kiss all your holidays good bye for the duration of your training. That’s great, cause this way you get to avoid the silly seasons of buying things for yourself, or worse, for others. Now who wants to do that?

3. You get to wear pajamas all day and still get paid.
Surgical scrubs are great! There are several good excuses here. Certainly you save a lot of money cause you don’t really need to buy too many shirts, pants, ties or any of those things. Also you save yourself a lot of laundry time. The down side, however, is that you will have to have on at all times a good pair of underwear. It has been noted many times that wardrobe malfunctions do happen with surgical scrubs. An incidental showing of the undergarment occurs not too infrequently around major hospitals, either through a thin scrub material, a slit on the side, a hole on the back, or just because of a poorly tied scrub pants. Depending on the undergarment incidentally revealed, one may end up with a job promotion, or a trip to see the disciplinary board.

4. You get to spend a lot of time with your patient, asleep.
It is a myth that surgeons spend little time with patients. They say physicians and internists spend massive amounts of time really talking to patients, while we surgeon “swing by the bed” (like as if we were chimpanzees or something) and not even talk to patients. They say: “don’t blink, or you’ll miss the surgeon”. Well, I’m here to abolish that myth. We clock up more time with our patients compared to physicians. But our patients are anesthetized when we’re with them, for good reasons. Apparently anesthetists put the patients to sleep for the patients’ benefit so they won’t be exposed to the surgeon too much. Hmm…

5. You get to cut people open and stuff.
Isn’t that the coolest thing in the world? In any other business it’s called ‘assault’. In my cut-throat industry (pardon the pun), it is called ‘craftsmanship’.

6. You’ll always have an excuse to stop a job, a conversation or an article if you’re getting bored (or can’t find reason number 7).

Sorry, gotta go. Hospital called.


43 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why You Should be a Surgeon

  1. It never got me out of the holiday shopping, but has taken me from some of the celebrations (sometimes a good thing/sometimes not).

    I love taking a bad situation and making it better (don’t like it when it turns out not to be possible). Love repairing.

    Never wear my pajamas to or from work, only in surgery. 🙂

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  2. no.4 is the reason i got into surgery (being a very shy type) ……i had some diffculty in bedside (soothing) mannners (or so i was told) and heard from my chief that i got the best hands in the class (which i no realize was most probably an inside joke) and signed up to be a surgeon…but enjoying every minute of it…especially the part where i get to speak with my surgical mask on…..

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  3. What an awesome post! I just discovered your website a few minutes ago. You are so funny. I am eventually going to be a surgeon (in what field remains a mystery) I live in California, and am hopefully going to UCSD next year. Do you have any advice for a pre-medical student.

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    1. Hi! thanks for dropping by. it’s a long journey, but a thoroughly enjoyable one. my advice: Don’t forget the big picture and enjoy the experience, even if it’s stormy.

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      1. Thanks. I will. I have gone through many hours a day just researching the fields and surgery itself. I’m really excited, and I know that it will be long before I get to where I want to be. Just hopefully, I get good scores on my Medical College Admissions Test. I hear it was extremely hard.

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  4. Wow reasearching things about surgery is so exciting! 😀 I’m currently in year 9 and I want to become a surgeon but I’m not quite sure which type, maybe a Neurosurgeon or a Orthopaedic something like that, the more I read about these kind of things the more passionate I get about them right now I’m convinced to become a surgeon but the only thing that worries me is the fees to get into medical school. How did you manage? Oh yeah next year should I pick the following subjects, General Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English and Spanish? Do you think they will be to much to take in year 10 because I’ve heard you need to memorise a lot of things and I think I may find it hard to memorise the methods and information for General Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics all at the same time and get a’s I’ll be fine with maths 😉 I like it but I have no experience with the science subjects except during year 8 and year 5 we learnt a bit about the human body. Do you think I should do some science subjects and do some more in year 11?
    Sorry I made this reply long L: but if you could answer it it would be great I’ll appreciate it. Thanks 😀

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    1. Hello! it’s great that you are planning far ahead. Being a surgeon is a privilege. it takes about 15 years to be a surgeon. a long arduous road. so all those little decisions you make are small steps towards it. Keep dreaming big, but remember to love whatever it is that you are doing. don’t narrow your options too quickly. love what you do.

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    2. Here in the UK you get a student loan and you only have to pay it back once you earn a decent wage (but as a surgeon I guess that’d be quite soon after you completed your degree if you got a job straight away!) and they give you money to cover all or most of your University costs.
      I’m the same age and I would love to go into the medical field!!
      You really should do the sciences as you’ll need to know about the body, medicine etc. and Medical degrees are competetive. The subjects you listed look good, but remember it’s your A levels that count, too and you’ll need to do well on them to have a chance of getting accepted.
      Good luck 🙂

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  5. I am only in 8th grade but for the last year all i can think about is becoming a surgeon. I love math and science and people:). Do u have eny advice?

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  6. This is so cool… too bad I only have about 15-20 years of me! lol 22 year old college freshman! Class of ’08 , class of 2016, class of 2020 etc! (oh yea, and AF Veteran… nothin will stop the U.S. Air Fooooooorce! o.m.g. iCan’t wait until the day comes!

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  7. This is so cool… too bad I only have about 15-20 years of me! lol 22 year old college freshman! Class of ’08 , class of 2016, class of 2020 etc! (oh yea, and AF Veteran… nothin will stop the U.S. Air Fooooooorce! o.m.g. iCan’t wait until the day comes!

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  8. I love this post! I’m from El Paso, Texas and a student at El Paso Community College working hard for my pre-medicine diploma looking forward the medical field to become a surgeon. I hope after all that stress with work I can still be funny and enjoy life like you. Have a great day and Thank you for the smiles! Can I show this to my Education class??? they will enjoy it like I did.

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  9. Great post! A few months I got the wonderful idea to become a doctor. The more research I did the more I realized I would love to go into the Medical field, specifically surgery. I am currently researching the different types of surgeons, and I like orthopedics. I know this path will be a long hard path, but I am up for the challenge. I am a junior in high school. I am working hard, and taking all the AP classes I can. I currently have a perfect GPA. Thanks for the post, it has helped solidify my career choice.

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  10. Hi my name is Marisa. I’m 19 years old ever since I was 9 I wanted to be a doctor. Long story short I dropped out of high school in the 9th grade but I did go back to school and got my high school diploma threw a high school diploma program. I would still love to become a doctor I’ve researched so much about becoming a surgeon now and I feel much passion to be a neurosurgeon or studying in cancer research and medicine. I am currently in beauty school in Colorado springs I am sure I do NOT want to do hair for the rest of my life! its not what I want. I just had to be sure I was ready to start my life to do what I have always wanted to do. I really just want your opinion, am I still able to pursue my dreams as a surgeon with the education I have? even though I got my high school diploma but didn’t do the 4 years of high school with a perfect GPA? and if I can would you know of any schools that I can enroll in?
    If you reply thank you so much it means a lot just to get some advise from someone I can look up to 🙂 !!

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  11. I think this is among the most significant information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The website style is
    perfect, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

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  12. I really enjoyed this and it is so funny! I am currently a college freshman and the idea of being a surgeon has only interested me in the last semester. The more I research it the more I like what I see and I know I would truly love it. But… my question is if it is too late. I am a basketball player and so much of my time in college goes to that and I already have a year under my belt in business, and to top things off I have not taken high math, so is it too lofty of a dream to go to med-school right after my undergraduate?

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  13. Hi, I enjoyed the post. I am a fourth year med student in NYC. I am strongly considering ORL, but am deeply concerned that the experience will distance me from my wife, who is already frustrated by the med school experience (I have been working especially long hours to try and improve my CV, get good reccs etc for ORL). My question is, when does residency become more tolerable, or more amenable to starting a family/enjoying wife with the spouse? Do things cool down as a PGY4 or as a chief? I would like to have some “data” to try and sooth my wife’s nerves and it would be nice to get your perspective. Thanks!

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    1. Hi.
      Hard to answer your concerns realistically. I’m in Australia. Things may be a little different in your part of the world. ORL is not as ‘easy lifestyle’ as most people think. It’s a hard slog. But it’s only a season. The season will end and you will become an attending who has control over your hours. Also, don’t say “wait till I become this and that and things will be better…” Start enjoying your hard work /long hours today, start enjoying your wife today. You are clever enough to find daily solutions to be with your wife. regular phone calls, text messages, cards, etc may be good. find a way to support her. but i also must warn you, if you get into ORL without the full support of your wife, it’s going to be very difficult. The decision for ORL has to be made together with your wife. All the best.

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  14. Great post! I’m going into my senior year (undergrad), just took the MCAT. I hope to think it’s pretty normal to second guess myself before applying, it’s a pretty big decision. How hard is it to balance work life, social and family life going through the process? I guess what I am most worried about is not being able to have time for a girlfriend/wife or to start a family while going through med school and residency. Although a medical profession is something I know I’d love to do, I think family life is most important to me. If it is possible, I’ll find a way… Just wondering if I’ll be able to put family first with a job like this.

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    1. I have not really choesn what kind of specialists I would like to work under, but I do believe that it would be fun to work in a Psychiatrist’s office. I originally was going for my B.A. in Psychology, but switched. There are so many to choose from that sound absolutely interesting. Such as working under an Internist or going simple and working under a Family practitioner. Even Gerontologist sounds like fun. I love the “aging population” and they have stories and much to teach.For the moment I am going to take this degree one step at a time and try to find the place that fits me best.

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  15. Hi,
    I’m only a 15 year old girl but I’m really interested in becoming a pediatric surgeon. Do you think it’s too early to know and do you have a blogpost on how long medical school took and if it’s possible with a ‘non Harvard’ Uni?

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  16. Hi, i was thinking of becoming a surgeon and I was wondering if taking physics is important. I also want to find out if you have to be smart to become a surgeon, because i am not the brainiest person but I was wondering if you reckon an average person can make it. A reply would be very helpful as for the reason that i’m really stuck and lost. Thank you

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    1. Hi Liccy,

      You have to be persistent and resilient to be a surgeon. Physics, chemistry, maths and biology help as they train your brain to do higher order thinking. It’s a long road but if that’s your dream, go for it!

      All the best!

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  17. aspiring to be a surgeon one day and your reasons for choosing this profession has encouraged me to work harder and be one of the

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