Most surgeons achieve first career goal

THE majority of surgeons end up working in the surgical specialty they chose the year after graduating, according to a new survey.

Sixty-one per cent of surgeons who qualified in the 1970s and 1980s were working in the specialty they chose in their first year of qualifying. Similarly, of the doctors who graduated in 1993 or after, 60 per cent were working in the specialty they chose in their first year of clinical practice.

More than 11,000 aspiring UK surgeons were asked about their career intentions one, three and five years after graduating by the Royal College of Surgeons of England. They were asked again 10 years after qualifying. Response rates varied but were at least 74 per cent.

Doctors who opted for ophthalmology and oral and maxillofacial surgery at year one were most likely to end up working within their chosen fields 10 years later. Most of the surgeons who were not working in their chosen specialty had moved from general surgery to a more specialised area of surgery.

A report on the findings noted that changes to the structure of medical training over the past 10 years had led to doctors being asked to choose a career path earlier. “This may be less of an issue for surgery than for other specialties as, even in the past, the great majority of practising surgeons knew that they wanted to be surgeons in their first post-qualification year,” it said.