Studies & Degrees in Surgery
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Surgical studies require intensive years of education and training, and are a life-long pursuit. Surgical staff is in constant, high demand for the medical community. A course in surgery teaches students how to open, enter, examine, repair or remove tissue from the human body.
The only way to become an officially licensed surgeon is to attend a college or university program. Sometimes these courses will be funded by government or military programs, in which case the funder will later employ the surgeon. It is typical for most surgeons to first obtain an undergraduate bachelor’s degree in a related field of study, such as biology, chemistry or other science. Afterwards, attendance to medical school for a master’s or (most often) a doctorate degree is required across the world, and is the only way to become a truly licensed surgeon. Before attending medical school, surgeons almost always need to pass certain standardized medical tests, such as the MCAT or AIPMT. Many programs will also require candidates to fulfill a surgical internship or residency at a hospital, clinic or other health care facility.
Any degrees obtained online or from other non-academic sources are not legally valid for a surgical license.
Skills, Qualifications and Prerequisites for Studies in Surgery
Students seeking to enter the surgical field should be dedicated to a surgical career. The road to being a surgeon can take an average of 10 years and should not be undertaken by anyone unsure about the career. Also remember that this course of study should only be attempted by those with high intelligence and a quick learning rate, as the education required is extensive.
Since surgeons often work in high-stress conditions, it is also essential that they possess the character to work under continuous pressure, work long hours and effectively handle critical situations. A surgeon should know how to anticipate and react to problems, forming quick, well-informed judgments in high-stress scenarios. It also benefits to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as surgical employment requires daily patient interaction and the ability to function effectively on a surgical team.
Physically, a surgeon is constantly working with their hands, so acute hand and finger dexterity is essential. Excellent eyesight and attention to detail is especially important due to the sometimes life-and-death nature of the work.
Qualifications and Skills Acquired from Studies in Surgery
Surgeons often choose to specialize in specific medical areas, which means they may place less focus on certain areas of study or add other medical, health science, chemistry or biology courses to their program. Regardless of their specified surgical areas, all students in this area of study will cover the following key topics:
- Knowledge of human anatomy.
- Knowledge of bodily systems (endocrine, cardiovascular, etc.)
- Surgical techniques and instruments.
- X-ray and other medical technology.
- Trauma treatments in various anatomical locations.
- Treatment of shock and airway blockage.
- Treatment of basic-to-serious injuries (burns, frostbit, etc.)
- Essential medical terms and diagnoses.
- Extensive biology and chemistry.
- Lab technology and lab documentation.
- Legal and ethical policies and laws.
- Pharmaceuticals and other drugs.
Surgical studies groom candidates to work for hospitals, medical clinics, free clinics or private practices. Surgeons may also work for overseas programs, the military, non-profit organizations or as medical relief during natural disasters. Surgeons work in the specific areas of neurosurgery, cardiovascular, orthopedics, pediatrics, ENT, colorectal, ophthalmology, abdominal disease, gynecology, urology, plastic surgery and various other medical fields.