Trauma surgery can be a high-pressure but rewarding career in medicine. A trauma surgeon faces some of the most intense cases, repairing damage from blunt or penetrating trauma that may damage one or more organ systems. A trauma surgeon also performs exploratory surgery to locate internal damage or bleeding; repairs damage to the pancreas, spleen, stomach or colon; supports critical organ systems, including the heart and lungs, and works in tandem with other specialized surgeons, such as heart surgeons or neurosurgeons.
Complete a bachelor's degree program that will provide you with the broad base of knowledge necessary to complete the specialized program in medical school. Trauma surgeons will typically obtain a bachelor of science in biological sciences or chemistry and complete a set of classes mandated by a pre-medicine program.
Obtain a doctor of medicine, or M.D., degree by completing a medical school program. The typical M.D. program lasts four years, with the first two focused on coursework and the final two focused on rotations through fields of medical practice.
Complete a residency program in general surgery, typically lasting three years. While studying to become a trauma surgeon, you will rotate through surgery specialties, including trauma and cardiac surgery. A trauma surgeon requires knowledge of many organ systems.
Become certified by the American Board of Surgery upon completion of your residency. You will stand for an oral exam in front of a board of practicing surgeons to demonstrate your understanding of the expansive knowledge required to practice trauma surgery. This is required in order to practice medicine as a surgeon.
Specialize in critical care by entering a fellowship program in trauma surgery for one to two years. At the end of this you will have the opportunity to take the Surgical Critical Care exam and become board-certified in trauma surgery.
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