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Cardiothoracic surgery

A cardiothoracic surgeon is a specialist who operates on the heart, lungs and other thoracic (chest) organs. As well as performing surgery, they also diagnose and treat diseases of these organs.

Training and qualifications required

Training usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine. Then there are two routes available. You can either complete two years of core training (CT1–2) and five years of specialty training (ST3-7), or seven years of specialty training (run through training at ST1–7). This period of training will include your royal college exams. Length of training can vary according to your circumstances.

Expected working hours and salary range

Doctors may work up to 48 hours a week. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working day to include early mornings, evenings.On call highly likely. Pay scales (2017): Consultants earn between £76,761 and £103,490.

Desirable skills and values

You’ll need excellent organisational and communication skills and the ability to cope with potentially long hours in theatre. You’ll have good hand-eye coordination, be manually dextrous and have a high level of visuo-spatial awareness. You’ll also need to be able to work under pressure and adapt with changing circumstances. It’s important that you work well in a team, and are able to stay calm and support your team in difficult circumstances.

Prospects

There are 363 consultants in cardiothoracic surgery in England in 2016. Opportunities exist for research and teaching.
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