Medical Student Education
The Department of Surgery is committed to providing excellent educational experiences for medical students. A dedicated team of faculty and staff have developed one of the strongest clerkships within the College of Medicine and increased the number of graduating students who have chosen to pursue a career in surgery. Mentoring of students by the Director of Surgical Student Education and the Director of Medical Student Development is an integral part of the educational experience students have while working within the Department of Surgery. Improvements to the structure of the surgery clerkship curriculum have helped us to increase the depth and breadth of students' knowledge of surgery.
We also work to be efficient with the students' time. As part of the integration of basic science and clinical years, a combined medicine and surgery intersession has been established to provide students with an intense one-week preparation for the rotation. These improvements include didactic and interactive teaching sessions. On day 2 of the intercession we lead a 4 hour lab where surface anatomy, laparoscopic anatomy, surgical procedures, and clinical workup of common surgical problems are all discussed at a cadaver station. This case based interactive session with fresh cadavers has been one of the highest rated sessions of the third year. All students participate in a "practical session" in the Skills Lab as well. During these sessions, they learn to suture, knot tie, and insert central venous catheters. In addition, they perform several portions of the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic skills course. Collectively, these sessions broaden each student’s knowledge of surgical disease and procedures, and also begin to develop their technical skills. Students and faculty have responded very positively to this initial week of concentrated teaching and learning. When they begin their clinical rotations, the students are better prepared for their patient management and operating room experiences, and thus are able to make a more valuable contribution to the surgical team.
We have adopted the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)
Surgery exam as our clerkship final written examination. The use of this exam helps maintain the integrity of our testing system and shows how our results compare to those from other surgical education programs throughout the country. An online evaluation system has also been established that enables students to provide timely, constructive feedback regarding their learning experience on the Surgery Clerkship, as well as comments regarding faculty and resident teaching performance. We encourage helpful feedback and take these comments into consideration as we progressively modify the experience for better education.
During the fourth year, students have the option of gaining additional experience in surgery with several electives. Acting Internships are available in General Surgery, Surgical Oncology, Trauma, and Pediatric Surgery. Every student aspiring to a general surgical residency is encouraged to enroll in the acting internships. Students are assigned tasks and responsibilities commensurate with the level of a surgical intern. This critical care acting internship involves managing patients admitted to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, and students participate in the acute resuscitation and management of many types of patients. The core of the rotation is centered on the multidisciplinary rounds led by surgical intensivists, with participation by pharmacy, respiratory therapy, nutrition, and nursing. Fourth-year students pursuing a career in surgery are also invited to participate in a surgery "Boot Camp." During this five-hour session, they are given practical lectures on common clinical scenarios and provided the opportunity to practice technical procedures on an animate model. They are able to hone skills in instrument handling, suturing, tissue dissection, and obtaining exposure.
Krishna P. Athota, MD, Director Surgical Student Education
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Trauma and Critical Care
Jaime D. Lewis, MD, Associate Director Surgical Student Education
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Surgical Oncology
David R. Fischer, MD, Director Medical Student Development
Associate Professor of Surgery
Director, Division of General Surgery