What Is a Surgical Residents Salary?


A surgical resident has a demanding schedule. Surgical resident duties include operating on clinic patients, ensuring that the patient’s chart is verified by the senior surgeon prior to surgery, ensuring the surgical resident is available to see his patient for follow up, completing thorough dictations on any surgeries he/she attends, and the often being assigned junior residents to assist as needed.


  • Residencies evolved in the 19th century. By the end of the 20th century, much fewer doctors went directly from medical school to practice, as most governments in North America began to require at least one year of post-graduate training. Traditionally, residents normally traveled to major metropolitan areas rather than rural areas to see patients. To this day, residents in rural areas remain underserved.


  • Residencies provide the medical doctor with specific, in-depth training in a particular sub-specialty. Surgical residents are frequently on call during their residency. In fact, the surgical resident’s day is filled completely from morning to evening. A sample of the surgical resident’s day might consist of the following schedule: at 6:30 am the resident completes rounds. Until noon, the resident performs surgery. A clinic and then trauma conference follow. Finally, the resident completes evening rounds. The surgical resident’s jam-packed day earns him/her a high salary to compensate for the extensive education, training and practice he puts into his daily professional routine.


  • Surgical resident salaries vary greatly from location to location and between institutions. In Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California for instance, the average surgical resident salary is $81,000. In Atlanta, Georgia, the salary is $84,000. In New York City, however, the salary of a surgical resident is one of the highest, being $101,000. The salary variation is based on living costs of the area.


  • Many benefits exist with being a surgical resident, and these benefits vary amongst hospitals. However, surgical residents may see some of the following benefits, including vacation, sick leave, holidays, bereavement leave, leave of absence, insurance, educational meetings, meals and uniforms and pagers.

    Aside from the aforementioned perks of a surgical resident’s salary, the benefits of a good salary lend the resident the luxury of a high standard of living.


  • Working more than 80 hours a week was not uncommon for surgical residents. Sleep deprivation was a concern with many surgical residents, as the combination of long hours and sleep deprivation may contribute to medical errors. As a result The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has stipulated an 80-hour work week maximum and overnight calls limited to one every three days.

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