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OR time outside of surgery rotation

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by strongyloides, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. strongyloides

    strongyloides New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    Is this a reasonable consideration? What is the appropriate etiquette when approaching a surgical department at another hospital when rotating through, say, psych (not to pick on any specialty, but suppose there's considerable downtime)?

    Also what are the pros and cons of doing this, for someone obviously interested in pursuing a surgical subspecialty.

    Help me out, you veterans of the clinical realm.
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  3. kito

    kito Big Evil 10+ Year Member

    May 13, 2002
    deep within
    If you walk up to the surgeon before the case in scrubs and introduce yourself as a medical student, I can't imagine anyone saying no, especially if there isn't a resident or another student assisting.

    Usually they can use the extra pair of hands in the OR so you should be welcomed in.
  4. SLUser11

    SLUser11 CRS 10+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2005
    If you are truly planning a career in surgery, then you have plenty of time to see the inside of the OR in the future. I would recommend focusing on your current clerkship. When you have downtime, use it to study or do (e.g.) psych-related extra-curriculars.

    If you're not interested in psych (and I understand that this was just an example you gave), then your clerkship may be your only exposure to the field. I'd try and maximize your experience, hopefully leading to you being a more well-rounded surgical resident in the future.

    Also, if you're "at another hospital," it may be illegal to allow you in the OR if you don't have privileges there. If it's at your own teaching hospital, you may be robbing students on their surgical clerkship of OR opportunities. Also, the attendings and residents on your current clerkship may be offended by your choice of activities and lack of enthusiasm for their field, which can affect your grade.

    Basically what I'm saying is that it is usually inappropriate, and don't do it. This is coming from a surgical resident.:thumbup:
  5. RajMahal

    RajMahal Guitar Hero 7+ Year Member

    May 18, 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    i couldn't agree more with SLUser. I used to do the same thing. I got chewed out several times on ER for trying to follow the patient to the OR for "continuity's sake". People from other specialties don't like it when you try and bail on them.

    The only times I did get into the OR on other rotations was when i was at a small community hospital in Idaho, and my fiancee was doing OB and I was doing peds. I had a few days off, and had already spoken to the OB attending about scrubbing some cases with her.

    Best advice I can give you is to learn as much medicine as you can during 3rd and 4th year. You'll never get medicine again, and 50% of what you do in surgery is medicine. That will prepare you much better for intern year than holding a retractor, which you will undoubtedly do plenty of in the future.
  6. Anka

    Anka Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2003
    I scrubbed in a lot throughout the year. Most surgeons are happy to have you. I usually approached it through the residents (e.g., I'd scrub in on cases where I knew the resident, and as they rotated through various services I'd tag along... gradually I got to know some of the attendings, and they'd know who I was if I came by). Of course, you should avoid stealing cases from other medical students -- if you're approaching it via the residents, they'll generally just let you know if there's someone who has priority. They can also tip you off if what you're doing is inappropriate at the hospital you're at -- clearly, if you were at SLUser's hospital, this would be the case. I got a lot out of my extra time in the OR.

    As far as working hard on the rotation you're on, that goes without saying. I would never have tried to skip out early to go scrub in. But at some point, your team has gone home, and no one has to know that while they were watching the lastest American Idol you were scrubbed in. Of course, this flavors the types of cases you see (cases that run late, emergencies), and might not work well with whatever the particular surgical subspecialty you're interested in.

    As far as the concern raised about interfering with studying for your other rotaiton -- If anything, I think I did better in my rotations because I was scrubbing in regularly. The time I was out of the OR I was a lot more efficient (after all, if there was a case I could scrub in on, I didn't want to be "oh, darn, I have to do X Y and Z"), and happier (if a little more tired the next day).

  7. justwondering

    justwondering 5+ Year Member

    Aug 29, 2006
    you shouldnt let your interest in going to the OR infringe on ur other rotation. it's not going to look good to a residency program if u have an eval from psych/whatever saying u were uninterested, etc. maybe u can see if u can be "on call" during the weekends if there are no other med students on.
  8. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    You may have noticed by now (assuming you've done any clinical stuff) that the moment you tell the non-surgeons you want to do surgery, they immediately put you down and harass you endlessly for the rest of the rotation.

    Do not even consider carrying out your plan. They will burn you alive. All your evals will mention it. I can see it now: "Student is intelligent and hardworking. However, clearly not interested in material taught, as evidenced by attempts to get out of seeing patients and go to the O.R."
  9. Mayhem

    Mayhem Scut Bear 5+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Somewhere only we know
    I've never done it but I know someone who did this and got burned for it. We were on paeds and had the whole weekend off. Somehow he found out about some interesting case and came in Sunday afternoon to scrub in. Monday morning during rounds they asked him to examine a child and he didn't do it too well at which point they chewed him out for spending time on another rotation when he had not even mastered the basics of his current rotation. He got a bad eval too.

    Moral of the story: Either don't get caught or make sure you've mastered the rotation you're doing before you run off to do another.
  10. strongyloides

    strongyloides New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    I appreciate all your advices, I get the point.
  11. zeloc

    zeloc Senior Member Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2003
    I am not a surgical resident, but I agree with Anka. As long is it does not interfere with your current rotation I see nothing wrong with scrubbing in cases. I know a student who went to the wrong room on OB/GYN, it turned out to be a neurosurgery case, and after the attending asked what rotation the student was on and she said OB/GYN, the attending said "this is a neurosurgery case, but that's okay! we welcome students." I'm sure you'll get the same response from all surgeons. As other people have said, I would make sure you are excelling with the current rotation and certainly you shouldn't be scrubbing in when you are technically still on the psych rotation. After hours or before hours I think it is totally appropriate, and I also wouldn't do it the first week or 2 of a rotation until you know what your responsibilities for that rotation are. Knowing residents and attendings, as someone else mentioned, is also very good.
  12. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    I agree, you will get great responses from the surgeons. Unfortunately, they are not the ones who count when you are on other rotations. And no surgical residency will take you if you get crappy evals from their medicine colleagues.

    Accept the fact that Medicine has a serious bias against us (students with an interest in surgery). They already believe, and probably rightly, that sugically-oriented students lack interest in their fields and have a problem taking non-surgical rotations seriously. Do not contribute to their perception by giving the appearance that you are not wholly-dedicated to learning the material for your medicine blocks. Going in on your day off for OR cases may be benign, but your non-surgery faculty will feel you are forgoing study time.
  13. bones4u

    bones4u Residency>>>Med School 2+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Honestly, if you have downtime, I would focus on either getting some research done, or just enjoying the downtime.

    I was able to complete a pub just on the downtime from medicine. the rest of the time i spent catching up with sopranos and 24 :cool:

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