Mr. Yahya Al-Habbal is a General Surgical fellow who completed his training at the Austin Hospital and is currently working with Eastern Health. In this podcast, he talks about what is expected from a general surgical trainee on a day-to-day basis, breaking down the time spent between operating, outpatients and paperwork, and the on-calls/weekends involved. He describes how the job changes as you progress from an intern through to a registrar and then a fellow and highlights some ways to show your interest in surgery as an intern. Mr Al-Habbal talks to us about the difficult conversations you need to have with family when undergoing training and how to maintain a balance between family and study commitments.

Mr. Al-Habbal completed a portion of his training interstate and rurally – and he discusses the differences in the role of a General Surgeon between a big city hospitals and rural hospitals. He also touches on how technology has contributed to the evolution of general surgery over the last couple of years and the potential for robotics to take over general surgery in the future.

The podcast covers the subspecialties available under general surgery and the differences between them. He also provides insight on the types of personalities that would be suited to general surgery and its subspecialties. Overall, this podcast is really interesting for anyone wanting to pursue a surgical career pathway. There are lots of good tips and tricks mentioned for junior doctors and medical students.

We hope you guys enjoy this podcast! Please remember to leave any feedback you may have for us and fill in the survey.

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If you have any other questions you’d like us to ask Mr Yahya Al-Habbal, fill out the form below or shoot us a message!

Pathways into General Surgery

Medical School → Internship → HMO → Surgical Education and Training (SET) Program (5 to 6 years, earliest you can apply is PGY2) → Fellowship (FRACS) for 1 to 2 years +/- subspeciality training → Consultant

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons states that in 2016 eighty-one (81) trainees were appointed into the SET Program to commence in 2017.

The selection criteria for applying for a surgical program can be found here.

The guidelines for surgical applicants, including what your CV should include when applying to the program, can be found here.


According to the Australian Government Taxation Data, in the 2013-14 income year we had:

  • 309 female general surgeons earning an average of $210,796
  • 1,289 male general surgeons earning an average of $357,996
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TMC003: General Surgery with Mr Yahya Al-Habbal

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