Health Service Categories and Careers


Surgery involves broad knowledge and clinical procedural skills. It involves anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, investigation, differential diagnosis, infection control, and surgical and non-surgical management. Core General Surgery covers breast surgery, gastrointestinal and colorectal surgery, surgical oncology, and transplantation, among others. However, Surgery encompasses many subspecialty areas. These relate to different organs and bodily systems, type of patient and disorder, or the type of medical procedure involved. All subspecialties look at managing patients with trauma and emergency conditions, with sepsis and/or who are critically ill, as well as providing specialist services for patients with congenital or acquired disorders. It involves a wide range of surgical techniques and competencies and an awareness of the benefits and limitations of each procedure. Surgery services involve multidisciplinary care, therapies, follow up, and palliative care, and are provided in hospitals and private clinics. Surgical subspecialties include: Cardio-thoracic surgery, General surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedic surgery, Otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, Oral and maxillofacial surgery, Paediatric surgery, Plastic surgery, Urology, and Vascular surgery.

Surgery Jobs

General Surgeons are highly trained in the diagnosis, pre-operative, operative and post-operative care of their patients. Their role is varied, ensuring accurate patient medical records, hygiene in the operation room, prescription of appropriate medicines, pain relief and anaesthesia, and coordination of follow up and ongoing care where necessary. They are often the first person confronted with managing the acutely ill or injured patient, where early investigation and complex surgical care is required. To qualify as a General Surgeon, from 2022, doctors from PGY3 + can apply for GSET (General Surgery Education and Training Program). This has replaced the SET (Surgical Education and Training) Program and is run by the GMA (General Surgeons Australia). It takes a minimum of 5 years to complete and involves Core and Principal training, rotations, assessments, and research, and prepares doctors for independent practice, especially in the acute clinical environment. It leads to RACS Fellowship and Specialist registration with the Medical Board of Australia (AHPRA). At this senior level, General Surgeons oversee multidisciplinary care teams, train registrars, and provide clinical leadership.

Registrars (General and Specialty Surgery – General Surgery) are registered doctors who have completed their medical degree and pre-vocational training (internship and residency/PGY2-3). They have attained general registration with AHPRA and can now undertake specialist/or vocational training positions to broaden and refine their scope of practice and gain experience, skills and competency in their chosen area of medicine. Registrars are very important members of the integrated and multi-disciplinary health care team. They have increasing responsibility for patient care, oversee and support junior doctors and staff, participate in professional development activities and continue to receive important guidance, training, and support from senior staff. They work in a range of primary, secondary, tertiary, clinical, laboratory and acute care settings, in hospitals, private practices and community clinics. Registered doctors at this level can further their career as Hospital Doctors or Career Medical Officers or pursue a medical specialty with further training and specialist registration. Registrars who want to pursue a career in general surgery, or a surgical specialty, can undertake advanced training with RACS. Surgical registrars work under general surgeons/specialist surgeon consultants and develop procedural skills, surgical techniques, clinical expertise, and valuable work experience in providing medical care, and surgical and non-surgical management of patients with conditions relating to their surgical specialty.

Nurses (Peri-operative)

Nurses (Critical care)