Interviews with Surgeons


Find a surgeon

The Find a Surgeon directory is a listing of active Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons who meet the requirements of the College's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program and have opted to be on the list. This list excludes retired or inactive Fellows.


Surgery is a challenging and rewarding career, requiring commitment, discipline and compassion. It usually takes surgical trainees at least five to six years to complete the Surgical Education and Training (SET) program.

You are invited to view interviews with experienced surgeons about the study, practice and highlights of practising surgery.

More video presentations by surgeons are available from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trainees' Association (RACSTA) (login required).


Professor Russell Gruen - General Surgeon

Part 1 (1min 59sec) - Why did you become a surgeon? Do you have any advice for trainees working in remote areas?


Part 2 (2min 52sec) - What do you like about being a surgeon? What is the best advice you have received on being a surgeon?


Part 3 (2min 10sec) - What advice wold you give someone considering surgery as a career?

Read about General Surgery


Dr Kelvin Kong - Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon

Part 1 (1min 45sec) - How did you cope with the challenges of training to become a surgeon? What are the ear, nose and throat  issues in Indigenous health? What advice wold you give someone considering surgery as a career?

Part 2 (1min 35sec) - What do you like about being a surgeon? What are your interests?

Read about Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Mr Suren Krishnan - Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon

Part 1 (2min 53sec) - How was training? How did you decide on your specialty?

Part 2 (1min 43sec) - How did you become involved with overseas work? What is the aim of working overseas?

Part 3
(1min 36sec) - What is the best advice you have received from a surgeon? What advice wold you give someone considering surgery as a career?

Read about Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery


Mr Allan Panting - Orthopaedic Surgeon

(2min 43sec) - Why did you become a surgeon? How did you decide on your specialty? What do you like about being a surgeon? What is the best advice you can give to a person considering surgery as a career?

Read about Orthopaedic Surgery

Associate Professor Helen O'Connell - Urologist

Part 1 (2min 54sec) - How did you come to choose Urology as your specialty? What are your interests and hobbies?

Part 2 (12min 5sec) - What was the topic for your PhD?


Read more about Urology.

Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete

Part 1 (1min 45sec) - What do you like about being a surgeon?

Part 2 (1min 3sec) - How did you become involved with the College?


Part 3 (1min 13sec) - What advice can you give to aspiring trainees out there?


Read about General Surgery


More testimonials

Professor Spencer Beasley - Paediatric surgeon

Paediatric Surgery is a specialty that involves an exciting and broad mix of conditions, and requires additional skills in dealing with children and their families. Good surgery is usually rewarded with good outcomes, and operations have to accommodate subsequent growth and development of the child, and last more than 70 years!

Whereas I gained an adult general surgical Fellowship before embarking on a paediatric surgical career, nowadays trainees enter the SET training program in Paediatric Surgery directly. Once "through", you become a member of a friendly and close-knit group of surgeons who, as advocates for children, are committed to a small but fascinating specialty.

My own inspiration comes from my children (all 6 of them), and I still have the opportunity to follow my varied interests that include music, photography, cycling and mountain running.

Read about Paediatric Surgery

Dr Wendy Brown - General surgeon

I had enjoyed the surgical rotations in medical school, but had thought that it was a bad lifestyle and too technically driven. However, in my intern year, I worked with some inspirational surgeons who showed me that the best surgeons are not just excellent technicians, but also good diagnosticians and good communicators who make their patients feel safe and well cared for. And they fixed people! They weren't just changing pills around, they were making people well, and really changing their lives.

I chose General Surgery (sub-specialising in upper gastrointestinal (GI) as I enjoyed the diagnostic challenges of abdominal surgery, the overlap with medical management, as well as the precision of the operations. I completed a PhD during my surgical training, as I could see that for me that an academic position would allow me to pursue this career with the support of a major hospital behind me, and afford me a better lifestyle. And I loved the research! It was an amazing opportunity to spend 3 years really thinking about a problem and trying to solve it.

No surgeon has a perfectly balanced life, and in my training I am sure that my personal life suffered with the demands of study and constant moving. However, the same was true of all my friends who undertook specialist post-graduate training. No matter what specialty you choose, the training time is intense. Now that I am finished, I feel my life is as well balanced as it can be (for a professional woman!). Much of my work is public, which means that my on-call is rostered, and I am able to plan my life well around this.

I still love the fact that I am able to really help people with my job. Even the simplest operation that I perform, such as an appendicectomy, solves a problem for someone. I feel privileged that I get to know so many different people at a time in their life where they are incredibly vulnerable, and I hope along with operating on them, that I never forget to treat them with the respect they deserve. Just as my mentors taught me.

Read about General Surgery

Associate Professor Helen O'Connell - Urological surgeon

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, as mothers do, mine would fuss over my hands: 'you will do something great with those hands'. My natural love for problem solving and the need to try to satisfy mum's inspiration found a home in a career in surgery, Urological Surgery. I had experienced successful squint surgery as a toddler in the early 1960s. It set up the belief that surgery had the power to transform or cure. Giving up glasses was good even as a 2-year-old.

The attraction to Urology: firstly it was intriguing to know almost nothing about an area after 6 years of medical study. What were they keeping secret? I liked the type and range of surgery used - cystoscopic, ureteroscopic, nephroscopic, open abdominal and perineal. As a young woman choosing a career, in the Urology clinics I was given encouragement for being female, patients not all women, saying they were happy to be treated by a lady doctor.

My favourite work is the actual operating. I feel at home with a team of highly skilled individuals doing something that is likely to make someone's life better, easier or cured.

I am lucky to have great help in the home, with the kids, with the running of the practice. The help enables me to have some time for me."

Read about Urology

Dr Simon Williams - Orthopaedic surgeon

Why does one pursue a certain career path? For me, it was because I was lucky enough to work in some excellent surgical units as a resident with some outstanding surgeons who subsequently became mentors. I enjoyed the mix of surgery - the interaction with the patients on the wards and clinics which contrasted with the team work and discipline in the operating room. Orthopaedic Surgery drew my interest as I found it to be so rewarding -- the ability to reconstruct a trauma patient, to alleviate the severe pain from an arthritic joint and to assist patients to return to their normal activities.

Although I continue to enjoy my work, over the past few years I have also become quite passionate about rowing. Perhaps again, it is the teamwork and discipline of rowing which attracts me to the sport, or perhaps it is the shared beers after almost winning another race!"

Read about Orthopaedic Surgery

Read more about becoming a surgeon.