"I prefer scalpels to knives when eating my steak now." -fictitious person

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Surgery is a fascinating rotation, you’ll get to do and see things that you would not believe. Everyone is always worried about the time commitment, I sure was. It really is not that bad, I had time to study and do social events (i.e. your life is not over). At ECMC, your day starts at about 5:30 am where you write down labs for your team’s patients. Then you round with your team from about 6-7:30am. If it is your precall day, you watch and hopefully scrub in on surgeries the rest of the day. If it’s your post-call day, you go home at about 9am. If it is your call day you try to find a surgery to watch, but the team whose precall day it is gets first dibs on the surgeries. You participate in clinic for a few hours on your call day. You spend a lot of time waiting around so bring books! Then a trauma will come into the ER and you can do things like put in a foley, do stitches, put in an NG tube etc. just ask the resident you are with. They should send you home at 11pm (don’t be afraid to ask-nicely, it’s a rule).

Expect to get yelled at constantly in inpatient-it’s not you, they yell at you but have never told you what they wanted you to do in the first place and everyone wants something different. You have to try to find out what each member of your team expects-don’t worry, it will take about a month and then you leave. Be polite, friendly, helpful, ask to do things, only you can advocate for your learning. It’s hectic and everyone is stressed so try to develop a thick skin. Also try to get to know your residents as people, asking someone about themselves is a sure way to get them to like you. You can also be in charge of ordering dinner on call days, everyone is nicer after they have eaten.

Outpatient varies. I had a great preceptor that I basically followed around for a month. I was at Mercy Hospital where they have no residents, so you get to be the assistant on many surgeries. I only had to come in one Saturday. If you are placed at Roswell expect to be there constantly, it really is not fair. It’s great if you are really interested in surgery but the time commitment can be more than for inpatient and the surgeries are too specialized for the shelf. These complaints were voiced so hopefully some changes will be made.

It is a great rotation and for the many people who don’t want to be a surgeon this really is your only opportunity to be in the OR so make the most of it. The eight weeks goes by fast. Everyone I know made it through the rotation in one piece and many of them truly enjoyed it. Be prepared to work hard and it will be over before you know it.

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