Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 14 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:s14
  1. Rob McGuire, medical student
  1. St George's University Hospital 0402865{at}


Mike Bailey is a consultant urologist at St George's Hospital, London Jyoti Shah is a specialist registrar in urology at St George's Hospital, London

“I always wanted to study surgery and my original career was that of a general surgeon. As part of this I did quite a lot of urology and enjoyed it but it became apparent that urology would go off and become a specialty itself. So I left general surgery to become a urologist. There are immense technical advances in urology and things are moving forward quickly. I really do enjoy all aspects of urology, from ward work and outpatients to challenging operations. The specialty is competitive but if this is your chosen career then this shouldn't put you off.

“The qualities that make a good urologist are the same as those that make a good doctor. In any of the frontline specialties, where you are dealing with patients, communication is very important. “What is essential in urology is adaptability as surgical technique is changing. Increasingly, a large amount of surgery is endoscopic, so there is a fundamental need for good hand-eye coordination and the ability to use an endoscope well.

“In the future there will probably be two types of consultants. Firstly everyone will train as consultant urologists. They will be responsible for most of outpatients and for minor operations. At the end of this training there will be competitive application to become consultant urological surgeons who will carry out the more complex surgical procedures.”

“After attachments in urology during my final year at medical school I realised that I really enjoyed the specialty and that I would go on to become a urologist. I love the variability of the job, the different types of surgery involved, and the fact that your colleagues are really nice. I think urology attracts nice people and you have a bit of a laugh at work. You need to remember that we spend most of our lives in the hospital with our colleagues so enjoying the day is really important. It is a good job that has a great balance between work and social life.

“My highlight is operating. Theatre is my haven. You sit in there, put your music on, banter with your colleagues and you can teach. I come in, my team is great, and we enjoy the day.

“Urology is very competitive. Applications are changing due to Modernising Medical Careers and I don't know what will be required. This is dreadfully unfair. When I applied, shortlisting was based on points and you needed publications, presentations, and something different such as being the junior doctor rep. In the past they wanted you to have completed some research and then later they wanted you to have gone straight into urology. They do move the goal posts a lot.”