I was exposed to a wide range of different doctors and residents during my surgical rotation. I rotated on the general surgery service for three weeks, urology for one week, and neurosurgery for one week. This variety made it possible for me to learn from a wide range of instructors and to have a well-rounded experience.
One of the best aspects of the surgery rotation is being exposed to performing multiple procedures that I had not yet had in my clinical year. Suturing, knot tying, placing NG tubes, and wound care were among the many skills I was performing on a near-daily basis.
This rotation pushed me and improved my anatomical knowledge. I feel much more at ease than I ever have with my knowledge of muscle groups, vasculature, and landmarks after five long weeks. I recall that when I watched my first laparoscopic cholecystectomy, I had no idea what I was seeing or what was happening. However, at the end of the rotation, I even found myself going through the steps of the case in my head before they happened. It was also a plus that our board review class came immediately before this rotation because it helped me prepare for a lot of what I saw in the operating room and will see on my end-of-rotation exam.
Each day when I received the schedule of surgeries I would be scrubbing into, I referred to my copy of “Surgical Recall” to refresh myself on the most important anatomical structures and clinical pearls of the disease process/surgery being performed. This helped me feel more confident when an attending surgeon or resident would ask me questions related to the case.
While the hours of this rotation were the most challenging of the clinical year, I used this time to review lab work, understand when particular labs need to be ordered, and home in on my skills of presenting patients during rounds.
Overall, surgery was an excellent rotation for me because it helped clarify my professional goals and helped me prepare for my boards in just a few short weeks.