In addition to contributing to the education of medical students, the Division plays an important role in the training of residents in our general surgery residency program.
General surgery residents rotate through the Division’s clinical service for one month during their PGY-1 year, six weeks during the PGY-3 year, and two months during their PGY-5 year. First-year residents are expected to learn the pre- and post-operative care of the surgical patient. This includes the appropriate skills in medical management, decision-making regarding the preoperative care of the variety of general surgical and oncologic diseases, and performance of some operating and minor bed procedures.
Senior residents (PGY-3 and PGY-5) continue to gain competency in evaluating the patient with cancer, formulating differential diagnosis, and developing a diagnostic approach. They learn the surgical management of solid tumor malignancies and learn complex techniques in open and minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of such diseases.
Our PGY-3 residents focus more on skin and soft tissue surgeries, while PGY-5 residents develop skills in more complex, upper GI surgeries. All residents actively participate in all divisional didactics and conferences. They also learn the importance of a team approach, working with nursing staff, nutritional support services, discharge planning, physical therapy, radiology, and other consultative services with the medical center for the management of these complex patients.
The third-year clerkship in surgery is designed to provide medical students with a broad experience in the general surgical disciplines. As part of their one month of general surgery, students can rotate on the surgical oncology service. This experience emphasizes direct patient contact, including all phases of evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of patients with cancer.
During this portion of the clerkship, students are given the opportunity to follow patients from initial presentation and evaluation, participate in the patients’ surgical therapy, and care for the individual patient in the postoperative recovery period until discharge from the hospital.
While patient care responsibilities are foremost, didactic teaching sessions are held each week throughout the rotation. These sessions utilize group presentations, lecture, and problem-based learning formats.
During these sessions, the student is expected to master and demonstrate the fund of knowledge necessary for the general practice of medicine as it relates to surgical disease.
Performance on problem sessions, presentations, and ward responsibilities form the basis of the clinical grade. In addition, each student meets regularly with a faculty preceptor. Finally, evaluations include a written (in-house) exam, written board examination, and oral examination.
Both residents and medical students have opportunities to participate in the Division’s research programs, which offer them experience in basic/translational research.