Department of Surgery
General Surgery Residency Program
The general surgery residency is a five-year program encompassing all aspects of general surgery as well as the surgical specialities, with an optional year of basic research available. The general surgical subspecialties include endocrine surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, surgical oncology, vascular surgery, advanced laparoscopic surgery, surgical ICU, and trauma surgery. Residents are also assigned to other surgical services with approved graduate education programs including orthopaedic surgery and urology. Five categorical residency and 15 preliminary internship positions are made available each year.
PGY1: Assignments during this year are for one-month periods, providing exposure to general and speciality services in the two affiliated hospitals. The resident will gain experience through one-month assignments to general surgery and the surgical specialities including anesthesia, cardiothoracic surgery, transplantation, vascular surgery, orthopaedic surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, and urology. Emphasis is directed to the fundamentals of both preoperative and postoperative surgical care and to learning fundamental technical skills.
PGY2: Assignments in this year are for two- or three-month periods, focusing on pediatric surgery, trauma, cardiothoracic, vascular surgery, and breast / endocrine surgery.
PGY3: Assignments are three months long in the third year. Assignments include the transplant, vascular, night emergency / trauma, and gastrointestinal surgery services as well as the general surgery service at the Veteran's Administration and cardiothoracic surgery.
PGY4: During this year, residents serve as senior general surgical residents on the daytime and nightime trauma / emergency surgery service, breast / endocrine surgery, and the pediatric surgery service. Another rotation is with a group of well-respected general surgeons at a community hospital.
PGY5: Chief residents are assigned to four surgery services. These are the liver / biliary and laparoscopic surgery, gastrointestinal, oncology and vascular surgery services at the Medical University Hospital, and general surgery at the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center. The chief resident is expected to assume maximum responsibility for all aspects of surgical care on each service.
Night call for most services is covered by the Night Emergency / Trauma (NET) Service. Residents may be on backup call every third or fourth evening, but this schedule may vary according to the assigned rotation. Work schedules are established so that residents work less than 80 hours per week with one day in seven "off", ten hours off between duty shifts, and a maximum of 24 hours on call.
Residents have the opportunity to take a two year period away from clinical rotations to participate in full-time laboratory research in one of several areas of surgery, including oncology, transplantation immunology, and cardiovascular surgery.
Throughout the program, there are regularly scheduled conferences. On a weekly basis, the surgical service conference reviews all morbidity and mortality cases. A weekly basic science and clinical seminar series reviews a core curriculum in fundamental problems relevant to surgical care. Presentations are given by members of the surgical staff, faculty from other clinical and basic science departments, and senior surgical house officers. Surgical grand rounds are held weekly and include presentations from all aspects of general surgery such as vascular, endocrine, trauma and gastrointestinal surgery, as well as the surgical subspecialties. In each hospital, surgical clinics are held weekly for follow-up of patients cared for on the general surgical services. Attendance at clinics is required of all surgical residents. A weekly cancer clinic also is held. Residents make presentations at weekly conferences attended by both residents and students. Each resident takes the annual in-service examination of the American Board of Surgery. Upper-level residents also are given oral examinations which closely approximate the conditions and content of the certifying examination of the American Board of Surgery. Those residents choosing to pursue further training have also done well, with all such graduates over the last ten years serving fellowship spots in their chosen specialties.