American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

What is the job outlook for surgeons? And for women: what is the outlook for women in the surgical profession?

According to a 1997 study, published in the September 2, 1998, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), that looked women residents by specialty in 1989 and 1997, the percentages are as follows:

   1989  1997
Colon and Rectal Surgery 6.8 20
Neurological Surgery 7.3 9.8
Obstetrics and Gynecology 44.2 62.6
Ophthalmology 22.6 28.6
Orthopaedic Surgery 5 6.9
Orthopaedic Subspecialties NA 9
Otolaryngology 13.6 18.2
Plastic Surgery 13.4 17
Hand Surgery NA 15.8
Surgery 13 20.5
Surgery Subspecialties NA 17.2
Thoracic Surgery 2 5.5
Urology 5.3 9.7

In addition, results from the Longitudinal Study of Surgical Residents, 1994 to 1996, published in the June 1999 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), indicated that women made up 27 percent of entering surgery residents, and comprised 23 to 24 percent of surgery residency graduates. Furthermore, the study revealed that the total number of graduates from surgical residencies in 1995 and 1996 had not changed since 1982, and that the largest number of surgery resident graduates were in obstetrics and gynecology programs, followed by general surgery program graduates.

Another study, published in the August 1999 issue of Archives of Surgery, found that of the more than 5,000 medical students in the state of California, the numbers in several nonsurgical medical specialties decreased between 1995 and 1998, while the number of medical students choosing general surgery residencies remained stable. The researchers concluded that the future for surgeons looks optimistic with a continuing demand for surgeons.