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Can anyone be a surgeon

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MerYangBey

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I’m wondering if you guys think that a person needs to have some innate skills/capabilities to be a good surgeon or if anyone can be made into a decent surgeon during residency (assuming they’re hardworking and such)
 

MSTP18

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Anyone who has what it takes to get into an allopathic med school has what it takes to be a surgeon.
 
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mimelim

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I’m wondering if you guys think that a person needs to have some innate skills/capabilities to be a good surgeon or if anyone can be made into a decent surgeon during residency (assuming they’re hardworking and such)

There are some people that lack the ability to become good surgeons. From a hands perspective, there are some people that even with good coaching and patience, accrue the skills too slow to be reasonably trained. As with everything, it is a spectrum, and the number that are truly untrainable is small. But, every year you see it. (Never mind the fact that no residency is perfect and the majority don't have great coaching and aren't known for their patience).

The far harder thing is striking the right balance between confidence and ego. You need to be able to make decisions based on partial information. You need to be able to make decisions that you know there is a >20% chance of something bad happening happen. That takes confidence and a certain ego. On the other hand, when that runs wild... Well, we all know what happens...
 
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MedicineZ0Z

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Only if you like the alarm at 4:30AM.
 
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MerYangBey

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There are some people that lack the ability to become good surgeons. From a hands perspective, there are some people that even with good coaching and patience, accrue the skills too slow to be reasonably trained. As with everything, it is a spectrum, and the number that are truly untrainable is small. But, every year you see it. (Never mind the fact that no residency is perfect and the majority don't have great coaching and aren't known for their patience).

The far harder thing is striking the right balance between confidence and ego. You need to be able to make decisions based on partial information. You need to be able to make decisions that you know there is a >20% chance of something bad happening happen. That takes confidence and a certain ego. On the other hand, when that runs wild... Well, we all know what happens...
How do you know if you’re one of the so-called untrainables? From a hands/technique perspective
 
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afib123

How do you know if you’re one of the so-called untrainables? From a hands/technique perspective
This is my question too. For sure, I know I am at least decent at medicine because I get to see these patients and work them up and come up with my own plans like a medicine intern would.
But I don't get to do any of the surgery except for suturing, so how can I know? I don't want to go to residency and find out I can't do it.. Or Is that a pretty small percentage of people that really can't learn it?
The residents at my neurosurgery program brushed it off saying that most people that dropped out of their residency were people that could not handle the workload. Our program director verbatim said he can teach "anyone" the technical aspects of the surgery but it's the mindset and the decision making that is the hard part.
Just asking because I want to make an informed decision before I jump into surgery that I could do it.
 
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MerYangBey

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This is my question too. For sure, I know I am at least decent at medicine because I get to see these patients and work them up and come up with my own plans like a medicine intern would.
But I don't get to do any of the surgery except for suturing, so how can I know? I don't want to go to residency and find out I can't do it.. Or Is that a pretty small percentage of people that really can't learn it?
The residents at my neurosurgery program brushed it off saying that most people that dropped out of their residency were people that could not handle the workload. Our program director verbatim said he can teach "anyone" the technical aspects of the surgery but it's the mindset and the decision making that is the hard part.
Just asking because I want to make an informed decision before I jump into surgery that I could do it.
I’m in the same boat. The surgeons here keep saying it’s the critical decision making that makes a good surgeon and that technique can be taught to pretty much anyone.
 

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A common saying i heard “do surgery if you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else and if you can imagine yourself doing something else, do that instead.”

I can’t imagine the allure of money and prestige will fuel you long enough through training and practice if you do not genuinely enjoy whatever you are doing. There are probably trauma surgeons out there who would burn out on an 10-3 FM schedule even if they made the same amount bc they simply cannot be in the clinic all day.

Edit: because I didn’t answer your question directly. No I don’t think ANYONE can become a surgeon. I think you need to be very smart, be the kind of person who pays close attention to detail. Probably not have a tremor. I’m sure there are some people out there who have an aversion to using their hands or simply don’t have very good motor skills. But I think most people have the capacity to operate, but if the motivation isn’t there then it’s not possible.

I think most people are turned off by the lifestyle, time commitment, super competitiveness and personalities they meet, not necessarily whether or not they have the innate ability to become a surgeon.

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mimelim

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How do you know if you’re one of the so-called untrainables? From a hands/technique perspective

This is my question too. For sure, I know I am at least decent at medicine because I get to see these patients and work them up and come up with my own plans like a medicine intern would.
But I don't get to do any of the surgery except for suturing, so how can I know? I don't want to go to residency and find out I can't do it.. Or Is that a pretty small percentage of people that really can't learn it?
The residents at my neurosurgery program brushed it off saying that most people that dropped out of their residency were people that could not handle the workload. Our program director verbatim said he can teach "anyone" the technical aspects of the surgery but it's the mindset and the decision making that is the hard part.
Just asking because I want to make an informed decision before I jump into surgery that I could do it.

How do you know? Many don't, hence why every year there are residents that end up out of programs over it. Keep in mind, the vast majority of surgical residents that don't progress do so because of either professionalism issues or inability to handle the non-operating portions of surgery. It is a very small minority to be sure that can't handle/master the technical part of surgery and the few that I have come across simply lacked the eye-hand coordination and the ability to learn by watching someone do something and with instruction, emulate. Truly, operating isn't hard physically. But, then again, neither is driving a car and yet most of us know people that simply can not drive safely. I don't me distracted drivers, I mean physically struggle to understand the basics of throttle control, despite driving every day. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Easy for me to say, obviously, but the reality is that it affects too few people.
 
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afib123

How do you know? Many don't, hence why every year there are residents that end up out of programs over it. Keep in mind, the vast majority of surgical residents that don't progress do so because of either professionalism issues or inability to handle the non-operating portions of surgery. It is a very small minority to be sure that can't handle/master the technical part of surgery and the few that I have come across simply lacked the eye-hand coordination and the ability to learn by watching someone do something and with instruction, emulate. Truly, operating isn't hard physically. But, then again, neither is driving a car and yet most of us know people that simply can not drive safely. I don't me distracted drivers, I mean physically struggle to understand the basics of throttle control, despite driving every day. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Easy for me to say, obviously, but the reality is that it affects too few people.
This makes me worry a little less. Thank you.
 
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doc05

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How did things go with cadaver dissection? Enjoy?Hate? Mangle the tissue? These could be clues.

I've noted zero correlation between operating and ms1 cadaver dissection.
 
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doc05

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How do you know if you’re one of the so-called untrainables? From a hands/technique perspective

That's pretty rare. And most surgery isn't technically that hard. Mostly it's character and judgement issues. Which you don't really know until you're there.
 
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MerYangBey

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How did things go with cadaver dissection? Enjoy?Hate? Mangle the tissue? These could be clues.
I didn’t really like anatomy lab. I didn’t do too much there. But my interests have changed over the last year and a half.
 

Gorne

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Any Med student that works hard enough can be a surgeon. Can they be a good surgeon is entirely a different story.
 
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Newyawk

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I just have a strong feeling that i would hate my life if i had to be a surgical resident
 
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AsianPersuasion

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I thought for certain that my life would be FM and I'll live happily ever after. But here I am, looking like an ass compared to some of the most elite medical students in the country clawing for a integrated surgical spot...so I pray to God my mediocre ass can become a surgeon lol.
 

You shall know the Truth

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I thought for certain that my life would be FM and I'll live happily ever after. But here I am, looking like an ass compared to some of the most elite medical students in the country clawing for a integrated surgical spot...so I pray to God my mediocre ass can become a surgeon lol.
How is the pursuit of vascular going.? I am rooting for you.
 
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AsianPersuasion

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How is the pursuit of vascular going.? I am rooting for you.

Thank you fellow comrade, lol. It's taunting, stressful, emotionally exhausting and potentially may put a strain on my relationship with my fiance IF I match somewhere too far from his employment situation (he's a trauma surgeon). I took the plunge and am going into the process with no backup. I want to projectile vomit every time I think about not matching.
 
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MerYangBey

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I thought for certain that my life would be FM and I'll live happily ever after. But here I am, looking like an ass compared to some of the most elite medical students in the country clawing for a integrated surgical spot...so I pray to God my mediocre ass can become a surgeon lol.
Haha good luck!
I never thought I would even like surgery...
 

doc05

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Wow. Did you miss my point. Did OP LIKE dissection? Hate it? Was terrible at it? Or enjoyed dissection, skillful at it? Not requirements, but be clues as to whether they should go there.

Except that anatomy lab is nothing like operating.

What surgical specialty do you practice anyway?
 
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You must love the OR. But it’s not enough. Work ethic has to be there too, or you either won’t make it, or will be mediocre—and I would hope you’re striving for something beyond mediocre. You have to also have a thick skin, a willingness to accept (really accept within yourself) that you don’t know everything. As you get older, and progress further, additional skills such as “good hands” and “decision making” can be developed. But those come last, and don’t need to be there in the beginning. Work ethic and love of our trade is key.


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Angus Avagadro

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Except that anatomy lab is nothing like operating.

What surgical specialty do you practice anyway?
Cant divulge my specialty as this forum is anonymous . And what part off dissection is unnecessary for an operation? Of course anatomy lab is not the same as being in the or, surgical clinic or floor care. But if you hated dissecting or were terrible at it, maybe these would be clues to finding a different specialty?
 
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Lawpy

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    Cant divulge my specialty as this forum is anonymous . And what part off dissection is unnecessary for an operation? Of course anatomy lab is not the same as being in the or, surgical clinic or floor care. But if you hated dissecting or were terrible at it, maybe these would be clues to finding a different specialty?

    I’m pretty sure there are many people each year who hated anatomy lab and disliked doing dissection, and yet they still went on to excel their surgery rotations, match into surgery/surgical subs and have successful careers.
     
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    BabyDaddy

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    You must love the OR. But it’s not enough. Work ethic has to be there too, or you either won’t make it, or will be mediocre—and I would hope you’re striving for something beyond mediocre. You have to also have a thick skin, a willingness to accept (really accept within yourself) that you don’t know everything. As you get older, and progress further, additional skills such as “good hands” and “decision making” can be developed. But those come last, and don’t need to be there in the beginning. Work ethic and love of our trade is key.


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    Is work ethic enough? I feel like that's basically all I can bring to the table at this stage.
     

    MerYangBey

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    You must love the OR. But it’s not enough. Work ethic has to be there too, or you either won’t make it, or will be mediocre—and I would hope you’re striving for something beyond mediocre. You have to also have a thick skin, a willingness to accept (really accept within yourself) that you don’t know everything. As you get older, and progress further, additional skills such as “good hands” and “decision making” can be developed. But those come last, and don’t need to be there in the beginning. Work ethic and love of our trade is key.


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    Thanks for the thoughtful reply! That actually makes me feel hopeful. If there is anything I can bring to the table it’s work ethic.
     
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    Skiriboribobo

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    Of course, anyone can be a surgeon but I don't think everyone are destined to be a surgeon. To become a surgeon in any medical field be it, orthopedic or Neuro or Cardio-thoracic, it's a matter of consistency and hardwork, there is no limit to what anyone can achieve not even becoming a surgeon. So the profession may be mould in Med school but our time and brain are also required.
     

    MedicineZ0Z

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    Not much different than 5:30 am for other specialties...
    Depends when you're rounding, how efficient you are and how much time you need to get to the hospital.
    I've always been bed to car in 15 minutes max, then to hospital in 5 mins including walk from parking lot. Being able to round/do notes significantly faster than average also helps. All of this works to create a lot more time for sleep, especially when sign out is at 7am.

    And other specialties have variable amounts of outpatient time which starts 830 or 9am.
     

    MSTP18

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    Cant divulge my specialty as this forum is anonymous . And what part off dissection is unnecessary for an operation? Of course anatomy lab is not the same as being in the or, surgical clinic or floor care. But if you hated dissecting or were terrible at it, maybe these would be clues to finding a different specialty?
    Dissecting a fixed to hell body is really it’s own thing. I hated anatomy lab but enjoy autopsies.
     
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    MediCane2006

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    I’m pretty sure there are many people each year who hated anatomy lab and disliked doing dissection, and yet they still went on to excel their surgery rotations, match into surgery/surgical subs and have successful careers.

    I agree with this. I despise cadavers and always will, but I love operating on live people. I hate how cold and shrunken cadavers are... so gross.


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    This was me. I despised anatomy lab and actually wasn’t very good at anatomy period -memorizing all those structures without any real context was very hard for me. Once I decided I wanted to do surgery I even took a 4th year anatomy elective to try it again...still hated it.

    Twelve years later, I love surgery, still can’t stand cadavers
     
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    W19

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    Depends when you're rounding, how efficient you are and how much time you need to get to the hospital.
    I've always been bed to car in 15 minutes max, then to hospital in 5 mins including walk from parking lot. Being able to round/do notes significantly faster than average also helps. All of this works to create a lot more time for sleep, especially when sign out is at 7am.

    And other specialties have variable amounts of outpatient time which starts 830 or 9am.
    Wow... That is super! Most people take longer than that. Some attendings round for 4-5 hrs on 6-8 patients.
     

    MedicineZ0Z

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    Wow... That is super! Most people take longer than that. Some attendings round for 4-5 hrs on 6-8 patients.
    I agree a lot of services/rotations/other specialties/specific residencies take surgery type hours on their days. Usually though, this is veryyy much unnecessary. I've seen peds residents take forever to round because the presentations (even for patients on day 7 admission) were excessively detailed.
    For one, there's no reason to take that many hours to round. It becomes exhausting for the sake of being exhausting. And second, it takes away from patient care because it causes the main day-to-day plan to go missed.
     
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    I agree a lot of services/rotations/other specialties/specific residencies take surgery type hours on their days. Usually though, this is veryyy much unnecessary. I've seen peds residents take forever to round because the presentations (even for patients on day 7 admission) were excessively detailed.
    For one, there's no reason to take that many hours to round. It becomes exhausting for the sake of being exhausting. And second, it takes away from patient care because it causes the main day-to-day plan to go missed.

    Part of why I became a surgeon is because rounds on medical services killed me. Now, I’m in and out of the room in 5 min or less, unless I’m discussing surgical options or have a chatty family member who catches me. Infectious disease was the worst—they didn’t finish rounds til 7pm. I thought I was going to jump out the window. In contrast, as a resident I used to round with my group on as many as 40 patients in an hour.


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    HueySmith

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    I’m wondering if you guys think that a person needs to have some innate skills/capabilities to be a good surgeon or if anyone can be made into a decent surgeon during residency (assuming they’re hardworking and such)
    Some skills and capabilities are definitely helpful in becoming a surgeon: good work ethics, excellent communication skills, not from a DO school, personable, etc etc.
     
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    deleted103644

    I’m wondering if you guys think that a person needs to have some innate skills/capabilities to be a good surgeon or if anyone can be made into a decent surgeon during residency (assuming they’re hardworking and such)

    No. Not anyone.

    giphy.gif
     
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