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Personality For Surgery - Is There Such A Thing?

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Good day everybody

I am just finishing first year at an Ontario med school and have discovered (entirely unexpectedly) a love of surgery and all things surgical. I had the chance to spend about 10 days observing different surgeries and fell in love with the OR.


When sitting in class, or exploring diseases, I keep longing to be back in the OR or think about "what would a surgical approach to this pathology be?". I love the interventional aspects of surgery, I love intra - operative tech (CT fluoro, etc) and literally any time I think about it, I get excited.


This has all got me thinking about surgery as a career


I am however a very introverted and fairly sensitive person and fairly shy and worried that perhaps I wouldn't fit in to the dominant personality types that sometimes dominate surgical specialties. Not to say that there is a specific personality in surgery, but I am a very soft-spoken person and whenever I tell people I am interested in surgery, they are surprised and say "Wow! You'd be much better suited for psychiatry, though. You're so quiet".


I don't want to generalize surgeons (I know there are exceptions) but all this has gotten me thinking.


Has anybody been in a similar position, where they feel as though surgery as a pursuit is entirely for them, but worry that they might not succeed because they aren't assertive and super confident (like some other surgery gunners mostly seem to be?)

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Ok, quiet people = psychiatry is news to me. I'm sure there are thoughtful, introverted surgeons out there.


Sounds like you felt like you fit into the OR environment. Were you scrubbing in and interacting with the team? 


Sensitivity is a good thing - you will be dealing with patients during some of their most vulnerable moments. If you feel like you belong in surgery, you will adapt and learn to handle the dominant personalities and situations requiring assertiveness that come your way. 

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I'd say the only thing I've noticed is that surgical people tend to be more "to the point". We like to fix the problems with surgery and tend not to get tangled in too much into details. Which is why we all hate our medicine rotations... I guess that's why some might look like they have a more "dominant" personality, but a lot are also very nice and softspoken.

However this is in no way a rule and we need all types of personalities in the field. The most important personality trait is motivation and passion for your field.

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What is recommend for people with that surgical personality (not tangled into too much details) but can't go into a surgical specialty for health/physical reasons?

Anesthesia, Emerg, or dread through IM for medical subspecialties that are procedurally-oriented


If you do Optho, your life ain't that bad either

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