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Advice about a career in trauma surgery

Hardcastle Tim, Dr <tch at sun.ac.za> tch at sun.ac.za
Mon Apr 3 05:59:21 BST 2006


Trauma Surgery is usually practiced by general surgeons, in the US in addition to their normal tasks of elective and emergency surgery. In other countries, or in units in the US with high volume it may be a full-time job, especially if the Trauma Service runs the SICU as well.

Shifts are for Emergency Physicians and others who do initial care and then transfer that care to some form of hospitalist (a surgeon / pediatrician or physician and so on). Good surgeons do not work shifts in the traditional sense of the word, although in some countries (Europe and UK) there are general time limits people can/should be working (See European work-time directive).

To answer question 3 depends where you work and what the case-spread of trauma is: In South Africa, where I work - mainly penetrating trauma, therefore much operating vs. Europe and many parts (but not all) of the USA - mainly blunt trauma and therefore much non-operative care and ICU work.

Dr T C Hardcastle
M.B.,Ch.B.(Stell); M.Med(Chir); FCS(SA)
Senior Surgeon / Senior Lecturer: Surgery (Trauma and ICU)
ATLS  instructor and DSTC Cape Town Course Director
Intern program Coordinator: Surgery
Program Manager: Emergency Medicine (SU)
Clinical Head (Director): Diana Princess of Wales Trauma Unit
Department of Surgery Room 4064
Tygerberg Hospital / University of Stellenbosch
PO Box 19063
Tygerberg 7505
Western Cape
South Africa
e-mail: tch at sun.ac.za
Cell: +27824681615
Office: +27219389281 or 4911 pager 0302

-----Original Message-----
From: trauma-list-bounces at trauma.org
[mailto:trauma-list-bounces at trauma.org]On Behalf Of 00 00
Sent: Monday, April 03, 2006 3:24 AM
To: trauma-list at trauma.org
Subject: Advice about a career in trauma surgery

Hi,  I'm a med student in the U.S. and interested in possibly a career in 
trauma surgery.  I have a few questions that I hope the surgeons can advise 
me about.

1. Is it possible to work purely as a trauma surgeon or do trauma surgeons 
also do routine general surgery cases in addition to their responsibilities 
as a trauma surgeon?

2.  Is it possible to work entirely in shifts as a trauma surgeon?

3.  How much of your time as a trauma surgeon do you spend actually 
operating vs. non-operative management?

Thank you in advance for your help.


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