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Too old for a surgical career?

Discussion in 'Medical Specialties & Careers Advice' started by Paul101, May 14, 2009.

  1. Paul101

    Paul101 New Member

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    Hi folks, I'd be really grateful for your advice. I'm starting a 4yr graduate entry medical degree in Sep 09 at the ripe old age of 43. I want to know whether surgery would be a realistic career option for me, or whether in reality, it would be unlikely that any consultant would hire me into specialist surgical training because of my age and perceived opinions regarding limited remaining working life. And if that is the case do you feel it would likely also apply to other non-surgical specialities as well. My understanding is that all aspects of surgery are extremely competitive at the ST1 and ST3 points of entry. I will be 47 when I finish medical school and 49 by the time I finish my F2 year. My understanding is that there would a further 8 years if surgical training (ST1-ST8) meaning that consultant grade would take until at least 57 (though I am determined to work till 70 if I get a chance).What do you thing my chances of getting accepted into specialist training in the first place would be?
    Many thanks for your help.
    Paul
     
    #1 Paul101, May 14, 2009
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  2. sjk

    sjk New Member

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    I'd say it was as competitive as anyone else. Even if you work until 70, you're still getting a good 13 years service in, post-ST.

    If that's your dream, then go for it!
     
  3. sjk

    sjk New Member

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    And further to that, the med school you are starting at in September wouldn't have offered you a place if they had any reasonable doubt that you wouldn't be able to progress into a speciality of your choice at the end of it.
     
  4. yazoo

    yazoo New Member

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    Technically, age discrimination is not legal. But in reality, I think nobody can answer your question. Discrimination - both positive and negative - still exists everywhere. And it's really not all about age. Other things will be more important.

    What you want to do in 4-6 years time will be hugely influenced by med school and early foundation training. The vast majority of my GEP classmates are not doing what they thought they would, generally out of choice.

    To try to answer your question, though, I think surgery would be harder to do at an older age than some specs. But then you probably never invisaged the med school part for much of your life! So why not make the exception to the rule, if that's what you really really want!
     
  5. James

    James New Member

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    An option to consider would be the non-consultant career pathway (trust grade, clinical assistant, associate specialist) - the training is quicker and you get to do lots of actual surgery (rather than filling your time with research etc. to pad out your cv). On the negative side you would never be a consultant and be somewhat looked down upon by your career grade colleagues. It is often an option chosen by people who switch specialities late in their careers.
     
  6. Nurse_to_doctor

    Nurse_to_doctor New Member

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    Hi again Paul,

    It's May, so only 4 months or so, before you become a medical student at the same age I'll be next year, if I get into medical school ;) I did not know you wanted to get into surgery. Whenever I mention my age and wanting to be a medical doctor, doctors tend to state "not thinking of surgery, are you?" However, the ‘younger’ doctors (i.e. junior grades) seem to think it’s less of a problem. I'm going for GP (my ideal job) so it's never an issue, anyway.

    Still, who knows what it will be like in 6 years time, when you finish your FY periods. I think St Georges are more accepting of the 'older' student and should thus be more accepting of surgical SpRs (ST...) at an older age. You can but try...

    N2D
     
  7. Paul101

    Paul101 New Member

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    thanks

    Hi thanks to everyone for your replies - much appreciated.

    NTD nice to hear from you. I'm delighted to have gotten it at all to be honest, as I'm sure you will be. How is your GAMSAT prep going?
    Best regs,
    Paul
     
  8. Leo2004

    Leo2004 New Member

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    Paul,

    To be honest, if you are going into med school to be a surgeon and you still think this during and at the end of foundation years, then apply to surgery in general/neurosurgery basic training.

    Work hard in your f1 and f2 years to complete MRCS by the end of it, and you'll have a better application.

    There are reputedly plans afoot for deaneries to select candidates for surgical specialites at higher specialist training level e.g. you get told you will be training as a breast surgeon as opposed to upper GI, which you are interested in, for example. Worth bearing in mind, if this materialises.

    Good luck and enjoy it!
     
  9. Paul101

    Paul101 New Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks very much for your reply Leo - it was very informative and helpful.
    Can I also ask you, as a 3rd year GEP medic do you have any feeling for how open-minded interviewers are likely to be regarding mature applicants applying to enter basic surgical training (I know that competition is fierce)?

    Also, you suggested applying for 'general/neurosurgery basic training'. Does that mean that neurosurgery has a different type of basic training?

    What you say about deaneries selecting candidates for surgical specialites at higher specialist training level really surprised me - seems a little authoritarian of the deaneries.
    Many thanks,
    Paul
     
  10. yazoo

    yazoo New Member

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    The choice is a 2-way thing. The deanery, after a competitive application process, may or may not offer you a job. If they do, it may not be the one you want. You, in turn, can reject the offer or accept. This is simply what happens when supply and demand are unequal.

    There are flaws in the selection system. But I think most agree that it should be a competitive process. I'm not sure I would call it authoritarian, though.
     
  11. alex MD

    alex MD New Member

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    What does this mean? :confused: Sorry if I'm missing something here, I think I've got a virus atm and am feeling a bit confuzzled :(

    Does this mean if you apply for a general surgery ST position, the deaneries will allocate you a 'sub-specialty', i.e. instead of letting you train and then decide where you want to sub-specialise, do they give you a position that only allows you to train as a breast surgeon, when you may want to specialise in upper G.I.? Sorry if that sounds a little disjointed.
     
  12. Spencer Wells

    Spencer Wells Noodly Doctory Moderator

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    Yeah you got the gist of it.
     
  13. Aimee512

    Aimee512 New Member

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    So here's a question, I would be just starting out I'm 35, id like to work in the O.R. but I'm thinking as a single mom with 4 kids, and my age it may not be possible or profitable to begin this road. I am a previous EMT/Firefighter. Thoughts?
     
  14. AussieBoy

    AussieBoy Member

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    Surgical training at any age as a single parent with four children would be a challenge.

    Surgical training at 35 with no children would be a challenge.

    Putting them both together: boy oh boy.

    When you say starting out, what do you mean. Have you graduated yet?
     

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