A day as a surgeon

You're a general surgeon at your local NHS hospital, and today you're working the 6pm evening shift. You begin by checking the progress of a patient who's just had a breast removed to prevent the spread of cancer. She is recovering very well, and you advise her she'll be discharged from hospital shortly. Moments later, you must perform an emergency life-saving operation on a car-accident victim, who has been rushed into surgery. After hours of complicated repairs to internal tissues, the patient looks set to make a good recovery. Work is fast-paced, stressful and often tiring, but there is no greater reward than using your skills to save lives.

Does this sound like you?

You can make quick decisions and lead a team, even under pressure. You have a calm, reassuring manner, communicate easily and like helping others. You're always willing to learn about new technology.

What's next after GCSE?

You're likely to need around nine high grade 9-6 (A*-B) GCSE grades (or the equivalent), including a science subject, and be all set to take at least three AS/A levels (or the equivalent) at college or 6th form.

What's next after A level and beyond?

You'll need to apply for a recognised degree in medicine at university. Getting three good A level grades (or equivalent level 3 qualifications) is vital, as medicine is a very competitive area. It's important to check different university entry requirements as these vary between institutions. After university, you'll need to do further general and specialist training to work as a surgeon, and there are different areas you can specialise in, such as neurosurgery, urology or ear, nose and throat.