Cardiothoracic Surgery is one of the most interesting and rewarding careers in the medical field. It was stated in Saving the Heart by Stephen Klaidman, “In the 1950s surgeons found ways to do quick repairs of congenital heart defects and faulty valves, and then the first heart-lung machine was invented, which made longer operations possible. ” Since then, Cardiothoracic surgery has been constantly evolving to incorporate the new technological innovations. This job is described as engaging, challenging, interesting, and life changing.
Day by day, the surgeries are getting easier to perform and the recovery time for patients is improving. With 50% of the current cardiothoracic surgeons operating in the U. S. expected to retire within the next decade, there will be a huge demand for cardiothoracic surgeons. The work cardiothoracic surgeons do isn’t easy. They mainly focus on curing heart diseases and they can, with additional training, also operate on the lungs and the chest area. Cardiothoracic surgery has many perks. Cardiothoracic surgeons have an outstanding salary and great benefits.
According to salary. com cardiothoracic surgeons make from $277,469 a year to as much as $655,075+ per year with a median salary of $446,033. This also comes with great benefits. According to salary. com the average benefits for a cardiothoracic surgeon per year are (percentages represent the percentage of the total compensation): Social Security – $13,517(2. 5%), Bonuses – $3,126(0. 6%), Base Salary – $410,480(80. 1%), 401K/403B – $9,500(1. 7), Disability – $3,122(0. 6%), Healthcare – $6,507(1. 2%), Pension – $16,000(2. 9%), and Time off – $54,896(10%).
This amounts to a total compensation of $549,576 per year. This being said, many cardiothoracic surgeons believe that one of the best parts of their job is saving lives, and knowing that they are helping people. In Sherwin B. Newland’s book The Art of Aging it says, “…the inner source of perseverance consists of the conviction that we do after all, live for others. ” It even gives some of them this feeling that they have a greater purpose In life. This helps boost their self esteem so not only are they making a lot of money but they also feel great about themselves.
With all its perks cardiothoracic surgery is bound to have at least one flaw. That flaw happens to be education. While the job is great and pays very well, the education and training to acquire the ability to work as a cardiothoracic surgeon can take as much as sixteen years. The first step to becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon is college which takes four years. You would most likely want to take a biology major. However, according to sts. org, “ During the undergraduate years, a student can major in any field of study as long as he/she takes the necessary prerequisite courses for admission to medical school.
These courses include one year each of general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and calculus. ” Before graduating, it is recommended that students take the MCAT(Medical College Admissions Test), preferably in their junior year. After college you must apply to a medical school which will take another four years. According to sts. org medical school typically consists of, “…two years of study in the basic sciences and introduction to clinical medicine, followed by one year of exposure to all of the major clinical disciplines.
The final year consists of additional clinical exposure and electives. ” Students in medical school will usually apply for a five year general surgery residency towards their senior year. It was stated on sts. org that, “During general surgery residency training, which usually consists of five years of clinical rotations through the various surgical disciplines, a student is ordinarily exposed to cardiothoracic surgery in the early and middle years of the training program.
” One to two years in research is recommended during this time period. After that it is followed by a two to three year period of clinical training. In this time you will be exposed to more specific training in a field that you would be interested in like cardiothoracic surgery. After you finish all this, you can get certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Only then can you start your practice. Life is unpredictable.
As you finish your training and become a certified cardiothoracic surgeon you may start to think that you can’t do this. You may cause the death of a patient or break from all the stress of working as a surgeon. If this does happen to you then all is not yet lost. You can still make enough money to make a decent living and use the skills it took you so long to perfect. As an individual with the skill set of a cardiothoracic surgeon you can work as a professor and teach what you know to others.
If you could have learned all that you now know then you should be able to teach it to others. Also you can go into research. This is an interesting field and can be either fascinating or boring, all depending on what you’re like. In the end, you have a backup, a plan B and that can be the difference between bankruptcy or further prosperity. To become a cardiothoracic surgeon takes a lot of time and determination. This profession is highly challenging and really requires the type of person that will be willing to go the extra mile.
In State of the Heart by Maggie Ann Grace it said, “The surgeon did 650 heart cases each year. ” To do this you must be ready and willing to work insane hours and then stay late at work. You must be ready for emergencies and be able to go down to the hospital at a moment’s notice regardless of whether or not you want or even legally need to go. In this profession a mistake can cost a life and it’s something you simply cannot afford. However, if you can do this, learn and work hard, then you can be successful as a cardiothoracic surgeon.