The Student Room Group

What's the lifestyle of a surgeon and the journey?

After college/sixth form should I go to a uni then med school or just straight to med school? My grades are currently around 7 or 8 in my classes, I'm in yr10. I wanted to know the life of a surgeon from GCSE up till the end of training. The pay during training and after. How long does each step takes(Degrees,training ect.)? How many hours would you typically work? Do you get a life outside work - How many holidays you get (I love travelling ) and paid holidays? Is it very stressful? Is the pay worth the effort you put in? Do I have enough time for another source of income( tutoring or something with flexible and few hours like on weekends)? What type of surgeon has a high pay but also not too stressful, has many holidays, gets good working hours? If your wondering why Im asking when Im just in yr 10 its because I want to become a surgeon and find out if its a suitable job for me. If you can answer these questions I would be really grateful even just some of them!
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 1
If your focus is 'how much time do I get off' and 'how much money do you get' then you need to think of a different career.
Reply 2
Original post by McGinger
If your focus is 'how much time do I get off' and 'how much money do you get' then you need to think of a different career.
It's not my focus I just want to see if its suitable because I love science it my favourite subject and I always wanted to get a career in the line of medicine. I know I won't get much time off but I want to know the bare minimum. After the questions are answered I'll make a decision but most likely I will continue in the line of medicine. All I wanted to know is the lifestyle of a surgeon to prepare myself for it, you probably misunderstood me
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by Rf_29
After college/sixth form should I go to a uni then med school or just straight to med school? My grades are currently around 7 or 8 in my classes, I'm in yr10. I wanted to know the life of a surgeon from GCSE up till the end of training. The pay during training and after. How long does each step takes(Degrees,training ect.)? How many hours would you typically work? Do you get a life outside work - How many holidays you get (I love travelling ) and paid holidays? Is it very stressful? Is the pay worth the effort you put in? Do I have enough time for another source of income( tutoring or something with flexible and few hours like on weekends)? What type of surgeon has a high pay but also not too stressful, has many holidays, gets good working hours? If your wondering why Im asking when Im just in yr 10 its because I want to become a surgeon and find out if its a suitable job for me. If you can answer these questions I would be really grateful even just some of them!
If you are in the uk you go to uni to study medicine for 5 years then you do 2 years as a foundation year doctor then you specialise depending on the type of surgeon you want to become it can take upwards of 5years i think. you should do more independent research thou to see like online work experience I am in year 12 so cant answer the other question but i am thinking that i would like to go into general surgery as speciality but could change cause i haven't actually like done anything just like the idea of it but in year 10 i would join random webinars going over the application process like the medic mentor JVMS or Newcastle mini medical school or kcl med dent lectures (Think I did that in year 11) just to learn more but like focus on getting into medical school and think of specialities later focus on the idea of do i want to be a doctor before do i want to be a surgeon
(edited 2 months ago)
A lot of this is easy to find information. Doctors in the UK are paid by a standardised scale depending on where they are in training and this information isn't hard to find. You can find out easily how long each step takes by finding the relevant training curricula. You get standard UK annual leave allowances; the NHS might give slightly more, but annual leave is a statutory right in the UK - this is paid leave as well.

Of course there are complicating factors. While the basic take home pay you can find as per above, this doesn't account for additional pay for out of hours work etc, which can be quite extensive in some surgical specialties (and I think pretty much all will have some OOH work). Likewise for the annual leave as above the rotational nature of doctors training and rota demands (as I understand you can't take leave for night shifts for example). Also I gather in many/most surgical specialties it's more or less anticipated trainees will go in on zero days for further exposure/get more numbers for procedures and theatre time.

In terms of broader "lifestyle" this also is a) dependent on what you as an individual would be looking for (and what you are thinking is the lifestyle you want now as a GCSE student will absolutely not be the same lifestyle you are wanting as a foundation doctor and certainly will be different from when you are a consultant) and b) varies between specialties. Some surgical specialties may have more OOH/on call commitments than others (generally ones that mainly deal with emergency surgeries/emergent conditions are more likely to have to go in out of hours while on call, while those that mainly have elective procedures may be less likely to need to go in out of hours).

But in general, broadly pay working in the NHS is going to be essentially the same for any surgical specialty as you're paid against the same payscales - the only differences will be for out of hours pay (which can vary a little but not enough to significantly change the picture between surgical specialties I gather), and potentially the London pay allowance if working in London. Equally at least during training surgical specialties will generally have a high demand on your time and you may realistically struggle fitting in much other stuff around that.

Regardless, you won't even begin surgical training until at least after completing the medical degree (5-6 years) and the foundation programme (2 years) during which you'll be working across the whole of medicine. So you need to be motivated for medicine in general first and foremost. The surgical commitment comes later (either in medical school or in foundation, depending). The path up until that time is the same and at least up until you are in medical school you'll be doing exactly the same things as for any specialty. And once you actually finish medical school you will have a) probably a better idea about a lot of the details above and b) likely have different priorities in life anyway.
Reply 5
Original post by McGinger
If your focus is 'how much time do I get off' and 'how much money do you get' then you need to think of a different career.

I don't see anything wrong with asking about these things.
Reply 6
Original post by lilysilly_5454
If you are in the uk you go to uni to study medicine for 5 years then you do 2 years as a foundation year doctor then you specialise depending on the type of surgeon you want to become it can take upwards of 5years i think. you should do more independent research thou to see like online work experience I am in year 12 so cant answer the other question but i am thinking that i would like to go into general surgery as speciality but could change cause i haven't actually like done anything just like the idea of it but in year 10 i would join random webinars going over the application process like the medic mentor JVMS or Newcastle mini medical school or kcl med dent lectures (Think I did that in year 11) just to learn more but like focus on getting into medical school and think of specialities later focus on the idea of do i want to be a doctor before do i want to be a surgeon

Thank you!
Reply 7
Original post by artful_lounger
A lot of this is easy to find information. Doctors in the UK are paid by a standardised scale depending on where they are in training and this information isn't hard to find. You can find out easily how long each step takes by finding the relevant training curricula. You get standard UK annual leave allowances; the NHS might give slightly more, but annual leave is a statutory right in the UK - this is paid leave as well.
Of course there are complicating factors. While the basic take home pay you can find as per above, this doesn't account for additional pay for out of hours work etc, which can be quite extensive in some surgical specialties (and I think pretty much all will have some OOH work). Likewise for the annual leave as above the rotational nature of doctors training and rota demands (as I understand you can't take leave for night shifts for example). Also I gather in many/most surgical specialties it's more or less anticipated trainees will go in on zero days for further exposure/get more numbers for procedures and theatre time.
In terms of broader "lifestyle" this also is a) dependent on what you as an individual would be looking for (and what you are thinking is the lifestyle you want now as a GCSE student will absolutely not be the same lifestyle you are wanting as a foundation doctor and certainly will be different from when you are a consultant) and b) varies between specialties. Some surgical specialties may have more OOH/on call commitments than others (generally ones that mainly deal with emergency surgeries/emergent conditions are more likely to have to go in out of hours while on call, while those that mainly have elective procedures may be less likely to need to go in out of hours).
But in general, broadly pay working in the NHS is going to be essentially the same for any surgical specialty as you're paid against the same payscales - the only differences will be for out of hours pay (which can vary a little but not enough to significantly change the picture between surgical specialties I gather), and potentially the London pay allowance if working in London. Equally at least during training surgical specialties will generally have a high demand on your time and you may realistically struggle fitting in much other stuff around that.
Regardless, you won't even begin surgical training until at least after completing the medical degree (5-6 years) and the foundation programme (2 years) during which you'll be working across the whole of medicine. So you need to be motivated for medicine in general first and foremost. The surgical commitment comes later (either in medical school or in foundation, depending). The path up until that time is the same and at least up until you are in medical school you'll be doing exactly the same things as for any specialty. And once you actually finish medical school you will have a) probably a better idea about a lot of the details above and b) likely have different priorities in life anyway.

Thank you!
Original post by Rf_29
After college/sixth form should I go to a uni then med school or just straight to med school? My grades are currently around 7 or 8 in my classes, I'm in yr10. I wanted to know the life of a surgeon from GCSE up till the end of training. The pay during training and after. How long does each step takes(Degrees,training ect.)? How many hours would you typically work? Do you get a life outside work - How many holidays you get (I love travelling ) and paid holidays? Is it very stressful? Is the pay worth the effort you put in? Do I have enough time for another source of income( tutoring or something with flexible and few hours like on weekends)? What type of surgeon has a high pay but also not too stressful, has many holidays, gets good working hours? If your wondering why Im asking when Im just in yr 10 its because I want to become a surgeon and find out if its a suitable job for me. If you can answer these questions I would be really grateful even just some of them!

How long does each step takes (Degrees,training etc.)?

Med school - 5/6 years
Foundation - 2 years
Core training - 2 years
Reg training - 6 years (min)
Optional research degrees - 1-3 years
Fellowships - 1/2 years

How many hours would you typically work?

Officially 48, unofficially between 60-80 (occasionally more)

Do you get a life outside work - How many holidays you get (I love travelling ) and paid holidays?

Peoples definitions on this vary but still have plenty of hobbies and see friends. Holidays are 30ish days a year, often combine conferences/visiting other centres with holidays though and rarely take my full allowance.

Is it very stressful?

Depends on your tolerance for stress, but generally it can be, most of the time it is fine.

Is the pay worth the effort you put in?

For me yes, but this is a very individualised question that only you will ultimately be able to answer. There are many additional reasons why the job is satisfying beyond monetary reward.

Do I have enough time for another source of income( tutoring or something with flexible and few hours like on weekends)?

Yes, if you're organised. I've colleagues who manage property portfolios, one owns a rehab company, few who run courses and tutor etc.

What type of surgeon has a high pay but also not too stressful, has many holidays, gets good working hours?

At the start, none have significantly better hours than the others. Similarly low stress depends on subspecialty you choose and the setting you work in (DGH vs teaching hospital). T&O and Plastics generally end up high paying due to large demand for private practice.

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