The Surgery Clerkship is an eight week curriculum for third year medical students. The learning objectives include recognition of disease states requiring surgery, critical planning for surgical intervention, understanding the principles of intervention, and post-operative evaluation and management of patients. Students have a four-week rotation in General Surgery, two weeks in Trauma/Critical Care, and two weeks on a Sub-specialty Service. The Sub-specialty Service provides experience in Pediatric, Plastic, or Breast Surgery. Students can elect to experience Rural General Surgery for two weeks, or choose Orthopedics, Urology, Ophthalmology, and/or Cardiothoracic Surgery.
Responsibilities of students include assessments and care of inpatients and outpatients, and active participation in surgical procedures. They are graded on performance objectives of Intellectual Curiosity, Work Ethic, Behavioral Skills, and Communication Skills. It is expected all students will improve their understanding and practice of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competency skills (patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems based practice), and these are inculcated into the student performance assessment. The students complete a required core surgical cases log, entering operations in which they have participated. A minimum experience of 25 procedures is required. Students are expected to participate in the education of their team by researching patient care issues and presenting their findings to their teams. Our residents complete the Residents as Teachers course at the school, and add a major component to the student learning.
The Surgery Clerkship Final Grade is derived from the performance evaluation of the students in the clinical setting (2/3rd of the grade) and from the score on the standardized Surgery examination of the National Boards of Medical Examiners (1/3rd of the grade).
Attending and resident faculty mentor the students during the Clerkship. This provides student opportunity for collaboration with faculty on research projects leading to publications/presentation at local, regional and national meetings. Career counseling is also provided to students seeking careers in Surgery.
Eight weeks of surgical courses are required in the senior year. For those students choosing a surgical career, the mentoring continues into the fourth year relative to career selection, strategies in the national residency match process, preparation for residency, as well as in senior curriculum selection. This mentoring is on a one-on-one basis, and is very successful and positive.
Richard C. Anderson, MD
Lorin D. Whittaker, Jr., MD
Associate Clerkship Director