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Occupation Details

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Job Zone

Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience plus specialist training to be able to do their job.

Job Training
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. They may also require very specialist skills. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

€39k > 120
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€39 - 120
Related Information:
General Surgeon: 39 - 98
Orthopedic Surgeon: 41 - 120
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

Due to international demand for these skills, job opportunities will continue to arise.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category

Doctors, Psychiatrists & Other Medical Practitioners

Also included in this category:

General practitioners; medical practitioners; house officers (hospital); registrars (hospital); consultants (hospital); surgeons; psychiatrists.

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 13%
Male / Female: 55 / 45%
Non-Nationals: 18%
With Third Level: 100%
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At a Glance... header image

A fully qualified medical doctor who specialises in performing surgery for patients who need an operation following an injury, or on development of a disease or other degenerative condition.

Videos & Interviews header image

The Work header image

Surgeons perform operations on patients, using their specialist knowledge of physiology, biochemistry, anatomy andpathology.They have to work very skilfully with their hands, and have a whole team of medical staff to support them.  
The particular type of operation a surgeon performs depends on their speciality. These include:

  • General surgery  
  • Neurosurgery (brain)  
  • Cardiothoracic surgery (heart and chest)  
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery (head and neck)  
  • Ears, nose and throat (ENT) surgery  
  • Plastic surgery (skin and bone construction)  
  • Paediatric surgery (children)  
  • Trauma and orthopaedic surgery (bones and joints)  
  • Urology (urinary)  

Surgeons divide their time between the outpatient clinic, the ward, the operating theatre and the office. In the outpatient clinic, they ask patients about their symptoms, and then examine and diagnose them. They may decide to add them to a waiting list for an operation or send them for further tests.  
On the ward, surgeons visit their patients just before their operation. They check that incision markings are in the right place and answer any last minute questions. They might also check on patients after the operation, to make sure there are no problems.  
Surgeons perform their operations in the theatre, which must be kept sterile. They either work through a series of routine minor operations or concentrate on one or two major operations, which could take hours. While they are operating, they teach junior doctors surgical techniques and procedures.  
In the office, surgeons decide whether referrals from GPs are urgent or routine cases.  
Surgeons also spend time doing research in order to keep up with new surgical technologies. They might publish articles in medical journals, and some surgeons lecture to other health professionals about surgery.  
Surgeons work long hours and spend some time on-call. Their free time may suffer because of this. When they are on-call, they may have to perform emergency operations.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Follow established surgical techniques during the operation.


Examine patient to obtain information on medical condition and surgical risk.


Operate on patients to correct deformities, repair injuries, prevent and treat diseases, or improve or restore patients' functions.


Analyze patient's medical history, medication allergies, physical condition, and examination results to verify operation's necessity and to determine best procedure.


Prescribe preoperative and postoperative treatments and procedures, such as sedatives, diets, antibiotics, and preparation and treatment of the patient's operative area.


Diagnose bodily disorders and orthopedic conditions and provide treatments, such as medicines and surgeries, in clinics, hospital wards, and operating rooms.


Provide consultation and surgical assistance to other physicians and surgeons.


Direct and coordinate activities of nurses, assistants, specialists, residents, and other medical staff.


Refer patient to medical specialist or other practitioners when necessary.


Prepare case histories.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Assisting and Caring for Others: Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Documenting/Recording Information: Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Medicine and Dentistry: Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.


Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Biology: Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.


Education and Training: Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.


Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

You must have a sound knowledge of physiology, anatomy, biochemistryand pathology. A steady hand and good co-ordination skills are also essential.  
You must also have the physical stamina to perform operations over a long period of time. You will have to make decisions under pressure and must be able to cope with stress.  
You must be able to listen to, question and reassure patients and their families. Teamwork is an important part of the job, so it is vital that you can communicate well. You should also be hard-working and responsible.

Entry Routesheader image

To become a surgeon, you must first qualify as a medical doctor by taking a six-year degree programme in Medicine, followed by completion of a one-year internship in an approved hospital post.  
You then start your Basic Speciality Training (BST) by taking up a place in the Surgical Training Scheme through the Royal College of Surgeons. During this time you will learn the principles of surgery, and practise the clinical and practical skills common to all branches of surgery.
You will then spend another five or six years in Higher Surgical Training. During this time you specialise in one of the nine main areas of surgery:

  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Plastic Surgery
  • General Surgery
  • Urology
  • Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Ophthalmic Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Paediatric Surgery

On satisfactory completion of HST, you will receive a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Specialist Training (CSCST) which allows you to enter the Specialist Division of the Register with the Medical Council. 

Once a doctor is on the Specialist Division of the Register with the Medical Council they are eligible to apply for consultant posts. However is not always easy to get into these highly-regarded positions.

Last Updated: March, 2015

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Cosmetic Surgeon - from: YouTube [UK]
Go..Surgeon - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Public Appointments Service
Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Health Service Executive (HSE)
Address: Dr Steevens' Hospital, Steevens Lane, Dublin, 8
Tel: 01 635 2000
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Irish Medical Council
Address: Kingram House, Kingram Place, Dublin, 2
Tel: (01) 498 3100
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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