A day in the life of a locum surgeon
Surgeons perform a myriad of tasks daily. They are responsible for tending to diseases, injuries, or deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods.
As a surgeon, no day is ever the same.
Originally from South Africa, he’s worked as a surgeon all over the world, until settling in New Zealand for a better life for both himself and his family.
Long hours and high volumes of patients were the norms in South Africa, and like many national health systems, it’s junior doctors and registrars who put in the longest hours. Dr Kevin says this was tough but worth the effort.
“When you have those long hours, you get mentally and physically exhausted and you wonder if what you’re doing is the right thing… But in the scope of your career, you know it’s not going to last forever… you look at your consultants and their lifestyles and you know it’ll get better. Not that you don’t have responsibilities when you get to that level, but the hours are less likely to be so long.”
In 2011, Dr Kevin decided to start locuming as a general surgeon through Medrecruit. After enjoying his short working stints in the UK, he knew locuming would enable him to better balance lifestyle and family commitments with work.
“You’re a little bit more protected when it comes to overwork and burnout in NZ. In the UK, it doesn’t matter how many hours you do, how hard you are working, or how many patients you’re seeing, you have to finish your work. There’s more protection in NZ to make sure you’re not tired. If you make a mistake when you’re tired it can have significant consequences.”
A typical day in the life of a surgeon could include the following:
- Examining patients to determine medical condition and surgical risk.
- Looking at the patient’s medical history, medication allergies, physical condition, and examination results to get an understanding of what the best procedure will be.
- Operate on patients to treat diseases, correct deformities, mend injuries, prevent diseases, or improve or restore patients’ functions.
- Prescribe preoperative and postoperative treatments and procedures, such as sedatives, diets, antibiotics, and preparation and treatment of the patient’s operative area.
- Always follow established surgical techniques during the operation
A locum surgeon couples this with new locations and new environments. You could be practising in a beachside hospital one day, then a busy metropolitan the next.
“If you are locuming you can choose when you want to work, how long you want to work for and then you can choose when you go back. It’s enabled me to have more time to spend with the family and do things I enjoy like gardening and cooking.”
Dr Kevin is now one of Medrecruit’s top doctors. He’s worked with us for more than 10 years and is reaping the rewards of his well-balanced lifestyle.