General surgeons are medical specialists who carry out operations on a variety of bodily areas. This includes the surgical treatment of abdominal organs such as the intestine and colon, and also breast cancer and hernias.

This is therefore a varied area of surgery, but there are changes afoot, with more sub-specialist areas being created from this general practice. However, at the current time, there are still many general practitioners operating in the UK. It is not only a prowess at surgical procedures that is of great importance but also a desire to ensure patients are at ease. This will also involve aftercare to make sure the results of surgery remain a success.

Work activities

The typical work duties of a general surgeon include:

  • Make sure that patients understand the surgical procedure you are about to undertake.
  • Analyse and maintain patient records.
  • A general surgeon will work in immensely stressful situations, during which they will need to make quick life changing decisions.
  • A surgeon will need to maintain an excellent level of physical and mental fitness.
  • Surgical operations may need to be conducted about three times a week and can last for several hours in some cases.
  • Dexterity and hand-eye coordination will need to be maintained.
  • A general surgeon will need to study through out their career in order to advance, but also to learn of any new surgical procedures.
  • Carry out physical examinations and other tests to diagnose patients and recommend the necessary treatment.
  • There is the possibility that you will need to be on call for emergencies.
  • Make sure that communication with other professionals is maintained.
  • Cleanliness will need to be upheld.
  • May also need to carry out research and write papers for publication.

Essential skills

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent knowledge of science, medicine and physiology.
  • Able to work as an individual and as part of a medical team consisting of various professionals.
  • Desire to help people overcome their medical difficulties.
  • High level of interest in and an aptitude for medicine and surgery.
  • Ability to lead people during difficult times.
  • Able to cope with grief and death.
  • Desire to always keep improving your skills and knowledge.
  • Good IT skills.
  • Work to a high standard of professionalism.
  • Able to pass on your wisdom to other upcoming surgeons.