Surgeons are highly skilled medical specialists. Learning about surgeon skills can be helpful if you’re interested in becoming a surgeon or you’re writing a resume for a surgical position.
In this article, we discuss surgeon skills, how you can improve them, and how to highlight them during a job search.
What are surgeon skills?
Surgeon skills are abilities surgeons can use to perform better in their roles, including both interpersonal and technical abilities. Surgeons are medical experts who specialize in invasive and non-invasive procedures that help them to gather information, remedy internal problems or alter the body. Surgeons list relevant skills on resumes to communicate their abilities to a hiring team and optimize the document for applicant tracking systems. If you’re writing a resume for a surgeon role, you can review the job list to better understand the key skills for the role. These are some responsibilities surgeons can use their skills to complete:
Explaining procedures and why they’re necessary
Helping patients prepare for surgery
Performing invasive and exploratory procedures
Briefing the patient on how the procedure went
Describing the operation’s effects
Educating the patient about post-operation care
8 examples of surgeon skills
These are some examples of skills surgeons can use:
1. Attention to detail
Attention to detail is a skill that allows you to notice small changes or mistakes. As a surgeon, you can use this skill when assessing patients. For example, when evaluating a patient following a procedure, you may notice a minor shift in their stance that indicates a change in their condition.
Surgeons can use communication both for speaking with other doctors and physicians and for conveying information to the patient. For example, a surgeon may use medical terms to explain the patient’s current status to a nurse following surgery. As a surgeon, you may also speak with the patient and find ways to better convey the details of their condition and treatment.
3. Critical thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to assess a problem, determine the cause of the problem and implement a solution. Surgeons use this skill in surgery by identifying mistakes or issues and finding a way to remedy them. For example, you may notice excess bleeding, locate the cause, and cauterize the area to ensure further bleeding doesn’t occur.
Empathy is the ability to understand how another might feel. This is helpful for surgeons as they communicate with and connect to patients who experience a wide range of emotions. For example, a surgeon may use empathy to try and understand how a patient feels when receiving a difficult diagnosis. This can help the surgeon deliver the information in a way that gives the patient space and understanding.
Surgeons often lead the operation during surgery. They may provide instructions for attendings and nurses in the room. Leadership allows the surgeon to communicate and collaborate with other healthcare experts during operations and post-operation care.
6. Manual dexterity
Cutting, suturing and maneuvering are all actions that require the surgeon to have great manual dexterity. The affected areas during surgery can be small, like a blood vessel or small organ, and having control over their hands allows the surgeon to remove tumors and remedy issues internally without causing further problems. You can measure your manual dexterity by picking up small objects and maneuvering them in tight spaces.
7. Physical stamina
Depending on a patient’s condition and the extent of the surgery, a surgeon may be on their feet for several hours at a time. This requires substantial physical stamina, which allows them to focus on the work and avoid becoming tired in the middle of surgery. Surgeons may also perform several surgeries in a single day.
Professionalism is the ability to control your behavior and reactions to complicated situations. As a surgeon, you may experience complex and difficult situations involving patient emotions. You can use professionalism to best serve the patient and maintain appropriate communication.
How to improve surgeon skills
These are some steps you can follow to improve your surgeon skills:
Determine which skills are best to improve. The first step is to determine which skills are best for you to improve. For example, maybe you’re great during operations with a high success rate but you struggle with patient communication.
Seek out a surgical mentor. Consider speaking with someone you admire in the field and asking them to be your mentor. They may help you identify common obstacles and overcome them while developing your skills.
Ask patients for feedback about your care. Depending on the skills you want to improve, you can ask patients for feedback. For example, patients may rate your patient communication and help you understand how to better communicate.
Speak with leaders about your growth. Your supervisor or department director may be able to provide you with feedback on ways to improve and on which skills you can focus.
Monitor your improvement. Consider implementing a method for monitoring your improvement. For example, if you’re refining your suture skills, consider taking a picture after practicing on an orange or technical practice surface.
Surgeon skills in the workplace
These are some ways you can use surgeon skills in the workplace:
Communicate effectively with patients. Whether you’re speaking with a patient before or after an operation, you can use communication skills to better understand their concerns and more effectively explain the operation and its effects.
Identify minor issues before they escalate. During operations, you can use attention to detail skills to notice minor issues, like bleeding or small mistakes, and remedy them before they can escalate into something more troubling.
Maintain professionalism during complex situations. As a surgeon, you may interact with patients who are upset or other staff who are struggling. Learning to maintain a professional attitude can help you use empathy correctly and navigate complicated situations.
Collaborate with other health care experts. You can use teamwork skills to generate ideas for patient care in the group and collaborate when designing patient care plans.
How to highlight surgeon skills
These are some places in which you can highlight your surgeon skills:
Resume and cover letter
Review the job listing prior t writing your resume and cover letter to determine which of your skills are best to include in your application materials. To highlight them on your resume, you can include them in the professional summary and in the job duties for each role in the experience section. In the cover letter, you can provide more detail about how you developed the skills and how you apply them in a clinical setting.
You can emphasize your surgeon skills during an interview by focusing on them when you answer situational questions. For example, if an interviewer asks you how you manage difficult situations in the hospital setting, you can reply by focusing on your professional, critical thinking, and empathy skills. You may detail how you use empathy to understand the other person’s position, and professionalism and critical thinking to determine which course of action is best.
I hope you find this article helpful.