As a surgeon working for Médecins Sans Frontières you may be part of an emergency team responding to the needs of people wounded as a result of armed conflict or a natural disaster. Alternatively, you may work as part of a longer-term surgical program, providing care to communities deprived of a functioning health care system.

Regardless of the situation, responsibilities of an MSF surgeon include general, orthopaedic and trauma surgery, plastics (depending on the project context), as well as surgical needs assessments and training of local staff.
No matter where you are working, be prepared for the fact that diagnostic equipment and facilities in the OT will be limited - there may not even be an X-ray machine.


  • Certified surgeon / Fellow of Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (or equivalent), with at least 2 years work experience since obtaining Fellowship
  • Experience in at least one of the following areas:
    • General surgery
    • Orthopedic & trauma surgery
    • reconstructive or plastic surgery
  • For general surgeons, have performed at least 8 caesarean sections during the past 2 years. If all other criteria are met except for 8 caesarean sections note the following options:
    • Perform/learn caesarean sections with a colleague obgyn and provide proof on applying
    • Your application without this criteria may be validated subject to being enrolled and successfully completing MSF residency training to increase capacity in obgyn surgery
  • Ability to work autonomously in basic conditions with limited materials and resources
  • Willingness to abide by Médecins Sans Frontières surgical protocols
  • Available to work infield for a minimum of 6-8 weeks (at least for the first placement; subsequent placements can be shorter, depending on context)
  • People with a medical background must display no recent gap in clinical experience greater than two years


  • Available to work infield for up to 3 months
  • Available at short notice (in emergencies we may need surgeons to leave within 24 to 48 hours)


The essential criteria is an overview of the minimum requirements for international staff (in addition to the profile requirements above). Please note, these can change without prior notice in response to organisational needs. To work overseas with MSF, every applicant must meet the following requirements:

Work in a diverse team

The ability to work and live in multicultural and multidisciplinary teams in contexts that are often complex, unstable and isolated, requiring strict respect for the local culture, teams and security rules in force.

Experience working in remote, low resource and low tech settings

Clinical/working experience in environments with limited human resources, materials and equipment.  Access to electricity can be unreliable, running water may not be available, medical and other equipment may be in short supply and computer systems may be basic.

Management experience

Most assignments will involve supervision or management of teams and will require experience in: capacity building, training, planning and administration and performance management.

Commitment to the goals and values of MSF

Adhere to the MSF Charter and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment.

Commitment to a career with MSF

Committment for 2+ assignments. We are looking for people that want to commit to multiple assignments and a long-term career in humanitarian aid. Hiring and training an employee is a major investment for MSF and we want to hire international staff who want to grow within the organisation.

Ability to cope with stress

Many MSF projects are located in or near conflict areas. The environment is often chaotic and you will face various challenges. International staff must be able to cope with stress in a difficult and unpredictable environment. 

Flexibility and adaptability

Contexts, environments, team composition can change quickly. Flexibility and adaptability are critical for a successful MSF assignment.

Work independently and use initiative

Many MSF projects are located in or near conflict areas. The environment is often chaotic and you will face various challenges. International staff must be able to cope with stress in a difficult and unpredictable environment.


Language skills

Knowledge of French or Spanish, or willing to learn. 
Other languages including Portuguese, Russian or Arabic are an asset.


Due to the emergency nature of many of our projects, surgeons are often needed at very short notice. However for some longer-term projects it may be possible to confirm a placement well in advance. If you are genuinely interested to work with us but have concerns regarding the period of notice you may require, we encourage you to apply. Your individual circumstances can be discussed as part of the interview process.


If you’re not yet ready to apply, you can stay up-to-date by registering for recruitment updates including information on upcoming recruitment events.


Please apply if your skills and experience match the requirements for this role and the essential criteria for all international staff, listed above. Allow approximately 1 hour to complete to application.

Before starting the application, please prepare the following: 

  1. CV (in the format provided below)
  2. Motivation letter