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Surgery rotation advice

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Pianoboe01, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. Pianoboe01

    Pianoboe01 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    For someone who is pretty sure they want to go into surgery, which option is better:

    1. choosing a hospital where I can work with all the key people (like the chair of surgery) and get a good letter of rec, yet don't get to do much of anything in the OR because of all the surg residents around

    2. choosing a hospital without all the famous surgeons, few residents around, and where I'd get to do a lot of first-assisting

    I figure with choice #2 I might be able to make a better decision on whether or not I want to go into surgery, but I realize that who you know and the letters you get are very important too.

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  3. andros

    andros New Member 5+ Year Member

    Nov 13, 2005

    I would probably go with option #1. You will get enough of a feel for surgery doing that to see if you would like to do it, I think. Picture yourself doing what the residents/attendings are doing instead of judging by what they let you do as a clerk. I think connections within your surgery department are more important at this stage than getting lots of hands on experience.

    Chances are, at #2 you probably still wouldn't do a whole lot (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)... if it's a place where they don't get many med students they might be even more anal about letting you do stuff than #1.

    Good luck :)
  4. dmitrinyr

    dmitrinyr Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2003
    I'd go with #1. In this business, when it's time to find a residency it's much more about who you know than what you know. The amount of experience that you get as a student is about the same regardless at what hospital or surgery rotation you get your training, so I'd go with having well-known people say good things about me. Good luck.
  5. Pianoboe01

    Pianoboe01 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    Thanks for your responses. I'll request the hospital and the team where I can work with the chair of surgery, even though I may not have as much fun as the students first-assisting at other hospitals (yes, I've talked to students who were assigned those places). But, if I do go in to surgery, I'll get all the experience I need in due time. I can't wait!
  6. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Congratulations, you've learned a lesson that most of us (or at least me) didn't pick up until 4th year. Good for you. :thumbup:
  7. bones4u

    bones4u Residency>>>Med School 2+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Yup, very wise to chose option 1.

    Right now at your career first-assisting is a bonus. Instead what's expected of you is to have a killer application for residency, which will require:

    good LOR (like a glowing one from your chair of surgery
    honoring the rotation

    part of honoring is doing well on the shelf - and unfortunately first-assisting does not help. Floor management of patients actually does, and once your a surgical intern, you'll be first assisting on so many appys and choles you'll go nuts.

    I must say, however, the charm of surgery is truly experienced once you're first assisting, so take the oppurtunity whenever it comes up; but more important is doing well on the rotations and building a strong application
  8. McP

    McP Member 10+ Year Member

    May 21, 2004
    Alternatively, option two does have its perks. We have a similar situation at my school with some of us doing surgery at the Big hospital with the Big names and some of us working at smaller hospitals with more opportunities to see and do stuff in the OR. So here are my thoughts:

    1. At my school the chair of the program writes LOR's for everyone going into that speicalty. Student's who don't directly work with the chair on the rotation can set up meetings to talk about the rotation, the specialty, fourth year, residencies etc. and get to know them that way.

    2. From what I've heard, a GREAT LOR from a not-so-famous doctor is preferable to the same letter the super famous doc writes for every student. At the smaller hospital you may have more actual face time with the attendings, more opportunites to shine and show your enthusiasm, and be able to give them more glowing things to write about you in your eval.

    3. All the gunners are at the big hospital being their gunnery selves. You get to be with the folks who don't care about surgery and look way good in comparison.

    4. You may discover surgery isn't all it's cracked up to be and you hate the OR (This has happened to a couple of my friends). I'd much rather make that decision knowing that I actually don't get that excited about suturing, driving the camera, and using the bovie (WAY cool) as opposed to making that decision after you're totally bored from looking over the interns shoulders all day watching THEM suture (WAY WAY boring).

    This is all my opinion of course. I want to do pediatrics and am just really glad I actually got to do stuff and have fun on my surgery rotation.

    Good luck!
  9. Pianoboe01

    Pianoboe01 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    You make a good point about option #2, but I think I'll stick with option #1. My school is so large we have a choice of 6 different hospitals for gen surg (academic hospital, ghetto hospital, the VA, pediatric hospital, and two community hospitals). So, I think I'll request to do my required subspecialty surgery rotation at either the ghetto or VA hospital where I'd get a ton more experience in the OR, and request to do my gen surg rotation at the academic hospital and hopefully get a glowing LOR from the chair. Sound like a plan?
  10. MadameLULU

    MadameLULU Saucy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2004
    So, I did option #1. There were 4 subIs also rotating with the chair at that time, so I didn't have many chances to close, drive the camera and whatnot, b/c at least one of the sub-Is was scrubbed into each case. My friends who had experiences similar to option #2 rave about their experience. Many of them got to make the opening incision, had multiple opportunities to suture, close, and get more involved with the procedures.. My advice: If you have the chance to do a Sub-I, then choose option number 2 for your surgery core rotation and then do a sub-I with the chair.

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