On a daily basis, a surgeon diagnoses conditions in patients, performs surgical procedures and provides patients with postoperative care. The surgeon is also responsible for managing and leading the surgical team, which may consist of members such as an anesthesiologist, a surgical assistant and an operating-room nurse.
The nature of a surgeon's job can vary based on surgical subspecialty as well as the environment in which the surgeon practices. Surgeons in private practice usually have more professional freedom and focus more on patient-centered care, according to the American College of Surgeons. These surgeons have more control over the hours they work and the hospitals in which they choose to perform operations. They may also perform in-office procedures.
Surgeons can also choose to go into academic medicine. Working in an academic setting involves a combination of educating future physicians, treating patients and performing medical research. This type of setting works well for surgeons who are interested in creating and testing experimental therapies. Academic surgeons tend to see a broader range of clinical cases than surgeons working in settings that are more targeted toward specific kinds of patients.
Ambulatory surgery is another setting in which surgeons may work. These surgeons perform procedures on patients who return home the same day. Examples of procedures an ambulatory surgeon may perform include hernia repairs, laparoscopies and cataract surgeries.