Maximizing Rotation Experience

Maximizing Your Surgery Rotation Experience

  • Keep up with daily reading
  • Summarize blocks of information (such as histologic classifications, staging of breast and colon cancer, 5 year survival rates etc.) on 3"x5" cards that you can refer to periodically throughout the day. You will find that there will often be short time periods (10 or 15 minutes) that you can use while waiting for a returned phone call, a lab result or your junior resident. Use you daytime hours to read and study when the opportunities arise.
  • Use the patients log record to document your patients.
  • Feedback versus Evaluation—Request that the faculty and house staff give you timely and frequent feedback on your admissions and presentations. Your final marks at the end of five weeks on surgery represent an evaluation not feedback. Frequent and timely feedback is what you need to improve your skill.

Following Your Patient

For example:

Mrs. Prentice is 34 years old and is admitted to your service with abdominal pain.

  • After admitting Mrs. Prentice, have your admission notes reviewed and countersigned by your resident, fellow or attending. Ask for feedback after your admission is evaluated.
  • You read about the likely causes of your patient's pain.
  • You succinctly present your findings and concentrate on the pertinent positive and negative findings. Since you admitted this patient, you should follow all details about the patient—lab results, visit the radiology department and review any imaging studies with a radiologist. Prepare for any trip to the OR with review of the pertinent anatomy and the technique to be used (operating Atlas a good source.)
  • Go to the pathology lab to review the "surgical specimen" and final pathology microscope sections.
  • The extra efforts enable you to give a first hand follow up report at the next service rounds. An honors student would then knowingly speculate about the next phase of management.