Journey Through the Specialities


Surgery comprises of ten main specialities which all have sub-specialities embedded into them. These include cardiothoracic, general, neurosurgery, oral and maxillofacial, otolaryngology (ENT), paediatric, plastic, trauma and orthopaedic, urology, vascular and academic surgery.

Historically, surgery has been one of the most male dominated sectors of the NHS and while there may still be a divide today, there is a national initiative called Women in Surgery (WinS) who are promoting surgery as a career for women and hold lots of events, not just for post-graduate students but for aspiring surgeons as well. They are really active on social media and many universities also have their own WinS societies so it is a great thing to be involved with! 


Speciality Breakdown

Again, because the field is so vast, we have included a link to the GMC which details the training paths of each surgical speciality (as well as every other medical speciality) and the pathway to get there.

– Surgery is an extremely respected profession and means that you are able to use all of your skills and knowledge to the best of your ability on a daily basis meaning it can be a very exhilarating and stimulating career.

– It very often brings immediate outcomes for the patients impacting on their lives massively and that positive change is extremely rewarding and carries a great sense of pride. 

– Surgery is such a varied career that there is something for everyone as well as multiple opportunities to advance in your field and truly be the best of the best. Surgery also offers great job satisfaction and security. 

– Innovation is a massive part of surgery and so there are also many opportunities to invent new methods as well as work with teams to develop new technological advances to aid with surgery making it even more exciting. 

– The right to all of this prestige and excitement is not easy to gain and surgery is infamous for its extremely long and arduous training pathways. For example, after graduating from medical school it is an extra 13 years before you are a consultant neurosurgeon and there may be some that are longer!

– Surgery is one of the most highly contested careers and so it takes pure dedication and talent to be able to succeed in such a competitive environment at every stage of the training process. 

– Surgery is also notorious for the lack of a work life balance that it gives. However, having said that, there are many surgeons who balance this incredible career with their family life and so do not let this discourage you! 

– As surgery is so rewarding, it can also have big consequences when it comes to procedures that are not as successful. This can be emotionally challenging and also lead to medico-legal pursuits from the patient or their families if mistakes are made. 

Each of these specialities are careers within their own right and so here is a really useful link to discover more detail about each speciality: