Third Year Overview


This eight-week surgery clerkship is a required clinical experience that introduces students to the basic principles of surgery and the basic principles of caring for the surgical patient.  It is not the purpose of the surgical clerkship to train medical students in the practice of surgery or to interest only those students who intend to pursue a career in surgery.  The clerkship is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills relevant to surgical management that ALL physicians should possess.  Through this exposure, the student will begin to understand the general process of the application of surgical therapy to patients in a wide variety of stages.  Furthermore, by participating as a member of the surgical team, the student will observe the role of the surgeon as a member of the multidisciplinary team that provides care for the patient.  The clerkship is structured upon the principle that learning is an active process which can be accomplished only by the student.  The role of the faculty and housestaff is to provide guidance, stimulation, and example. 

The students will rotate on a General Surgery Service for four weeks.  During this experience, they will learn pre- and post-operative management, participate in surgical procedures, and gain exposure to the initial management of trauma patients.  Additionally, they will spend the other four weeks on specialty rotations, providing the student with a broad experience in the surgical disciplines.  Emphasis continues on the evaluation and diagnosis of surgical disease.  The students participate in a core conference series consisting of a series of lectures and case-based discussions.  Evaluation occurs through an end-of-course shelf exam, feedback from faculty and residents, and case presentations.

The clerkship emphasizes direct student participation in the care of patients.  Students will be expected to evaluate and follow inpatients and outpatients.  The student is considered to be part of the surgical team.  In addition, the student is expected to accept personal responsibility as a physician for the care of the patient, acting always under the supervision of the attending and resident surgical team.  In this role, the student should be versed in the knowledge applicable to the care of the patient, being particularly prepared to address issues of differential diagnosis, treatment alternatives and operative interventions.  Participation in daily rounds and chart notations are expected.  The student is also expected to attend relevant seminars and grand rounds as part of his/her clinical team.  In addition, students will prepare for and attend the student-specific activities.