Surgeon Census and Stats


Recently the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons published the results of their 5 yearly census. I love a good census as much as I love taking a picture of myself! Here are some fascinating stats:

70% of surgeons reported inadequate Wi-Fi in their principal hospital practice. How can we tweet our operations if there’s no Wi-Fi?

When establishing surgical practice, family ties were rated as most important factor followed by lifestyle factors. Not money!

Surgeons aged 70 and over form 9% of Aussie and 6% of Kiwi surgical workforce. Old dogs still learn new tricks in surgery.

Next generation: 70% of surgeons are actively engaged in training future surgeons. Proud to be part of this family.

1 in 6 surgeons spend more than 10hrs per week engaged in supervising and training future surgeons. We are serious about producing great surgeons.

Passing the baton: More than 50% of surgeons are planning for their replacement as part of retirement plan.

We work rural! 53% of Australian & 84% of Kiwi surgeons worked either full or part time in a rural or regional area.

Contrary to public perception that surgeons attempt to limit numbers, 70% believe that more surgeons required to meet demand.

50% of surgeons report inadequate teaching recognition and administrative support. We love our work and we love teaching. Don’t stress us up with paperwork.

1 in 6 surgeons under 40 reported having taken no leave or less than 1 week in the last 12months. Is that why we’re angry all the time?

Surgeons work 51hr per week. 11hr more than the average Australian working week of 39.9hr. Is that why we’re always tired?

More than 20% of surgeons are working more than the recommended emergency oncall period of 1:4. There’s just not enough of us around.

Where does our stress come from? 1 in 4 surgeons aged 30-60 reported experiencing high or extreme stress due to administrative interference.

The main source of workplace stress for surgeons is administrative interference. That’s right! Not clinical duties or difficult cases. It’s admin that stresses us up!

And confirming what we already know: Administrative interference was ranked by surgeons as more stressful than litigation!

Interesting findings. If you did a census of your own specialty, what would you find?

Confessions of a Surgeon on Vacation

It’s been a few weeks since my last surgery.

Yes, I confess.
I confess that I miss surgery.
I miss the quiet humming and sterility of an operating theatre.
I miss the gentle laminar flow of air over the operating table.
I miss the warmth of a Bair-hugger over the soft operating table.
I miss the perfectly tuned humidity of the operating room.
I miss the heat of the operating room lights falling on the back my neck.
I miss the anticipation of a patient’s arrival in the anaesthetic holding bay.
I miss the excitement of getting my equipment ready for the operation at hand.
I miss the surgical safety checklist: the sign in, the time out and the sign out.
I miss the way surgical gloves hug my hands.
I miss the face and neck perfectly painted with betadine and draped in greens.
I miss the gentle glide of a scalpel over skin.
I miss the way skin separates like rolling waves in obedience to the scalpel.
I miss the soft cobweb-like areolar tissue separating the planes of my dissection.
I miss the gentle beeps of the anaesthetic machine drowned in my operating music.
I miss the way a nurse perfectly place a surgical instrument in my hand.
I miss the gentle weight of a surgical tool in my hand.
I miss the palming of instruments.
I miss the way a scalpel, forceps and scissors rest in my hands.
I miss the way every surgical instrument is perfectly designed for its use.
I miss the rolling of tonsils and tumours off tissues.
I miss the hand-tied knot.
I miss the buzz of a diathermy.
I miss the accuracy of a laser beam falling on tissue.
I miss the perfect arc of a suture needle going through tissues.
I miss the click click of a needle holder in my palm.
I miss the pull of a subcuticular stitch like the closure of a zip.
I miss the way skin falls together like a closed book cover.
I miss the perfectly placed stitch.
I miss the waking of a patient from the perfect anaesthesia.
I miss the way a patient is gently pushed out of the operating theatre.
I miss the clean up and preparation of an operating theatre in anticipation of the next case.
I miss the gift of surgery.