M3 Surgery Clerkship
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Goals & Objectives


By the end of the General Surgery (GS) Clerkship, the student:

  1. Understands the scientific basis of surgical diseases and disorders.
  2. Recognizes surgical diseases and presentations, and knows when to call a surgeon.
  3. Gains experience with basic surgical procedures such as knot tying, nasogastric tube (NG) insertion, Foley catheter insertion and insertion of IV’s.


By the end of the 3rd year GS Clerkship rotation, each medical student:

  1. Performs a focused history and physical (H&P) exam on a surgical patient with a plausible plan and differential diagnosis.
  2. Describes the correct procedure for obtaining an Informed Consent.
  3. Describes the correct procedure for breaking bad news.
  4. Properly performs basic procedures commonly used in GS such as:
    • Simple interrupted sutures.
    • Two-handed and instrument tie.
    • Insertion and verifying placement of an NG.
    • Sterile technique for Foley catheter insertion in either a male or female patient.
    • Aseptic technique for peripheral IV placement and securement.


By the end of the 3rd year GS Clerkship rotation, each medical student:

  1. Participates in perioperative care, and anticipates and suggests treatment for various post-operative complications, including but not limited to:
    • Fever
    • Wound complications
    • Decreased urine output
    • Electrolyte derangements
  2. Cares for post-operative surgical wounds.
  3. Formulates a differential diagnosis for a patient presenting with acute abdominal pain.
  4. Recognizes and elicits signs of a surgical abdomen on physical exam.
  5. Describes the anatomy, underlying pathophysiology and  basic management principles of surgical diseases of the:
    • Upper GI tract
    • Pancreaticobiliary system:
      1. Acute cholecystitis
      2. Acute pancreatitis
    • Small intestine::
      1. Describe common causes of bowel obstruction
    • Colon:
      1. Lower GI bleed
      2. Diverticulitis
      3. Volvulus
    • Vascular system.:
      1. Aortic aneurysm
      2. Peripheral Vascular Disease
      3. Pulseless extremity
    • Cardiothoracic system
    • Adrenal and endocrine system:
      1. Thyroid and Parathyroid Disease
      2. Adrenal masses
    • Breast
    • Trauma and burn care
    • Pediatric Surgery:
      1. Bilious vomiting in the newborn
      2. Pyloric Stenosis


By the end of the 3rd year GS Clerkship rotation, each medical student is able to access, analyze and interpret available scientific literature.


By the end of the 3rd year GS Clerkship rotation, each medical student:

  1. Communicates clear and effective plans regarding patient care to the team.
  2. Demonstrates effective communication and cultural sensitivity.


During 3rd year GS Clerkship rotation, each medical student demonstrates professionalism by:

  1. Wearing appropriate attire as directed by his/her service.
  2. Maintaining patient confidentiality and honesty.
  3. Accepting feedback appropriately.
  4. Demonstrating respect for patients, families, employees, residents, faculty and peers.


By the end of the 3rd year GS Clerkship rotation, each medical student:

  1. Understands roles of various operative team members.
  2. Understands how operative services fit in the “bigger picture” of the health system.

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Cardiothoracic Surgery: MCVH/VAMC:

  1. Understand ailments amenable to thoracic or cardiac operative procedures.
  2. Participate in pre- and post-operative assessments of patients undergoing CT procedures.
  3. Introductory exposure to the interpretation of cardiac catheterization cineangiograms.
  4. Observe management of penetrating and blunt chest trauma.
  5. Acquire knowledge and understanding of physiologic principles as they relate to pulmonary and cardiac physiology.

Neurosurgery: MCVH/VAMC:

  1. Diagnosis, initial management, surgical indications, and expected outcomes for neck, back and radicular pain.
  2. Assessment, initial management, secondary problems and outcomes for head injuries.
  3. Assessment and type of stabilization for SCI.
  4. Identify benign vs. malignant brain tumors, outline surgical risk and detail outcome.
  5. Diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage, and importance of timing of surgery and vasospasm.

Ophthalmology: VCUHS:

  1. Learn fundamentals of common ocular emergencies and ocular conditions.
  2. Learn to perform direct ophthalmoscopy.
  3. Learn to take relevant history, perform a differential diagnosis, and identify indications for surgical intervention and management.
  4. Learn pre-, intra- and post-operative assessment, care and management of cataract surgery and ophthalmic anesthesia.

Plastic Surgery: MCVH:

  1. Learn fundamentals of wound healing.
  2. Learn to perform exam of the hand.
  3. Learn to perform exam of the injured face.
  4. Learn fundamentals of the management of lacerations.
  5. Learn skills, including cleaning and suturing.
  6. Learn most common congenital anomalies.

Urology: MCVH/VAMC:

  1. Acquire skills to conduct and record complete H&P.
  2. Acquire skills to assess urologic patients.
  3. Outline diagnostic work-up of patients with female and male urinary tract abnormalities, and male genital tract.
  4. Learn detailed microscopic examination of urine.
  5. Understand evaluation and management of common urologic conditions.

Vascular Surgery: MCVH/VAMC:

  1. Acquire skills to conduct and record complete H&P.
  2. Understand indications and evaluation of patients with peripheral vascular disease.
  3. Understand arterial and venous hemodynamics of non-invasive vascular labs.
  4. Acquire basic skills in interpreting angiography for common vascular problems.
  5. Understand outpatient follow-up and surveillance of patients with vascular disease.

Community Surgery: Inner-city Physician Office:

  1. Understand basics of surgery, including pre- and intra-operative decision-making, and post-operative management.
  2. Become familiar with the practice of surgery in the community.
  3. Participate in patient evaluation in the outpatient, inpatient and ED setting.
  4. Acquire skills to evaluate and manage surgical problems.
  5. Understand effects of various medical conditions in surgical patients.
  6. Understand basic science, anatomy and physiology that form the basis for surgical decision-making.


Students may have the opportunity to select a two week rotation in Otolaryngology and/or Orthopedic Surgery.

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  last updated: 07/15/2015










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