Which Surgical Specialty Should You Choose?

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operating room

It’s that time of year: residency application season!  You’ve decided that performing procedures, malignant personalities, and years of grueling training are for you but to which surgical subspecialty are you best suited?  Take our 4 question fill in the blank test to find out below:


  1. In my free time, I enjoy:
  • Genitalia (not my own) [Urology]
  • Cultivating a god-like sense of omnipotence [Neurosurgery]
  • Building teeny-tiny incredibly complex contraptions deep in the tiniest hole imaginable [ENT]
  • Slowly damaging my olfactory bulbs to be able to tolerate any smell, emitted from anywhere, at any time of the night [General Surgery]
  • Subtly implying the physical attributes of my friends and family are not actually idiosyncrasies which make them all unique but are, in fact, serious medical problems [Plastic Surgery]
  • Pretending to merit my 259 Step 1 score by throwing around a random British accent [Orthopaedics]
  • Sparkle nail polish and displaced hostility [OB/GYN]

2.  The one thing I am going to have difficulty tolerating is:

  • Others who dare feign the same aura of god-like omnipotence; also you erred in placing my specialty second in the first question [Neurosurgery]
  • Tightening my internal and external anal sphincters even more [ENT]
  • The fact that I crushed medical school just to stare at balls all day [Urology]
  • Goddamn cardiologists who don’t understand that there is ONE way to treat tachycardia: 2 liters of LR [General Surgery]
  • Nurses who forget to include credit card receipts as part of the pre-op checklist [Plastic Surgery]
  • Physiology, pharmacology, histology, pathology, embryology… [Orthopaedics]
  • Maybe if you fixed your tone I would answer your question [OB/GYN]

3.  The best book I ever read was:

  • The Object of My Affection is in My Reflection [Neurosurgery]
  • A Mind of Its Own [Urology]
  • Horton Hears a Who With His 22-Electrode MED-EL Cochlear Implantor [ENT]
  • Think and Grow Rich [Plastic Surgery]
  • Everyone Poops [General Surgery]
  • Umm… That’s a hard one… Umm…. [Orthopaedics]
  • DIY Vascular Injuries, Ureteral Transections and Enterotomies [OB/GYN]

4.  What are the biggest problems you will face when you’re out of training?

  • 90-hr workweeks well into my 70s since my specialty artificially restricts the number of graduate trainees annually to keep reimbursement high [Neurosurgery]
  • New research showing that biopsying (and billing for biopsying) the same prostate 12 times doesn’t improve outcomes [Urology]
  • Holy crap some of our operations routinely take TWENTY-TWO hours [ENT]
  • Wrestling with my desire to do free flaps and fix cleft palates for several nanoseconds before going into private practice [Plastic Surgery]
  • Goddamn anesthesia [General Surgery]
  • Seatbelt laws [Orthopaedics]
  • Liability for obstetric outcomes until age 18; a la carte birth plans; the natural childbirth movement; we seriously have to do something called ‘the whiff test;’ OMG they are out of Cinnabon lattes in the cafeteria and the medical student will PAY [OB/GYN]

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