Acute Care Surgery: A New Surgeon Career Path

In this, my last blog in a series about the Acute Care Surgery model, let’s review the benefits for general surgeons.

For surgeons who may not want to start a private practice or who may be looking for alternatives to that career path, an acute care surgery service represents a viable choice. It’s certainly challenging and gratifying on a professional level, and as we collaborate as a team, our skills and efficiency just get better and better. We see improved outcomes in our patients and greater satisfaction with patients and families because their care is handled from start to finish by a dedicated team who is there when patients need them.

The quality of life benefits are also very attractive: comparable income to the private practice model with a predictable work pattern, manageable shifts that allow the surgeon to plan his or life and the freedom to know your patients are receiving excellent care, even in your absence, has had appeal to many.

For example, the surgeon who is thinking of retirement may re-consider when he or she can alleviate the stress of a busy private practice and have control over a schedule. The young physician seeking the camaraderie and team-based care of residency can continue to get the support he or she needs.

Keeping these professionals active is very important in dealing with the impact of the current shortage of surgeons. Even mid-career surgeons who want to have more regularity in their schedules for growing families or other pursuits can have both a satisfying career and the quality of life they want. The acute care surgery model offers the attractions of predictable schedules with the challenge of meeting constantly changing patient needs.

Finally, there is the excitement of being part of something new and revolutionary. The acute care surgeon is a pioneer. Every day we are forging a new path—delivering an innovative solution that transforms the lives of our patients and keeps us engaged in our profession. Because we work in teams, there is always back-up and qualified professionals there for any patient need. We’re able to standardize care, which is a major reason why outcomes improve. Patients are delighted to have this attention, communication, and security knowing that they are being overseen 24/7.

The unspoken revolution currently taking place in American surgery is addressing the surgical shortfall while offering the promise of improving patient care and safety, and the potential to increase our own satisfaction as dedicated surgeons. The acute care surgery model is defining the next decade in emergency surgery care and we’re here to see it through.