The graduate program in General Surgery is a five-year residency with four categorical positions in each year. The Department of Surgery's educational mission is to evaluate young surgeons for leadership positions in community practice as well as academic medicine. Departmental goals are:
- To give each resident trainee a solid foundation in the basic science aspects of general surgery
- To provide a wide variety of operative, critical care and trauma cases for his/her management
- To assure complete surgical management of the patient by the resident surgeon, including all aspects of preoperative evaluation and preparation, intraoperative technical skill development and postoperative and follow-up care
- To provide a graded assumption of responsibility for the patient's care commensurate with the resident's knowledge and skill levels as he/she progress through the residency
- To encourage original contributions in the areas of clinical observations, basic research, and involvement as a leader in community or academic medical associations
To these ends, the program provides a didactic program of lectures and conferences based upon a recurring two-year curriculum in the basic and clinical aspects of general surgery, the surgical specialties, the ACGME competencies, and those aspects of other areas of medicine essential to the care of the surgical patient. Extensive resident participation along with that of the faculty in preparing these conferences is encouraged and expected.
Conferences and Lectures
The didactic program includes a self directed learning program in the basic sciences which includes a textbook review and on line assessments; a weekly case presentation and Socratic discussion in Didactic Conference; weekly Morbidity and Mortality Conference; monthly Journal Club to discuss the current surgical literature; monthly Practice and Professionalism Conference where guest lecturers are invited to discuss topics relating to practice development and professionalism in a seminar format; and weekly Grand Rounds in which faculty or visiting professors present updates of various topics of interest germane to the practice of surgery. Each rotation also has specialty specific conferences - the residents on that service are expected to attend and to participate.
Additionally, there are vascular surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, oncologic surgery, and breast conferences on a weekly basis, and the trauma service has a daily case review discussion among faculty attendings and resident staff. The Graduate School of Medicine sponsors the Foundational Curriculum which is required of all new residents. The conference focuses on each of the six ACGME competencies.
The importance given to the didactic program by the faculty is evidenced by the fact that residents are excused from all activities except absolute emergencies to attend conferences.
The Learning Environment
The atmosphere of the department is one of dedication to the residents' education. There are 41 full time faculty members in cardiothoracic, colorectal, general, vascular, oncologic, pediatric, plastic, trauma, urologic, surgical rehabilitaion, and surgical research. Other subspecialty surgical services are staffed by clinical faculty who participate in the educational programs. In general surgery, the residents are assigned to one of these teams with four to five faculty members on each team. These teams hold preoperative and postoperative clinic hours together, operate together at scheduled times, and thereby assure the residents continuity of care. On the other services, the residents work closely with the faculty attendings on a daily basis, involving themselves in all aspects of the patients' care.
Because there are only two fellowship programs in the department (Vascular and Trauma/Critical Care) and a urology residency, the general surgical resident truly has a broad exposure to general surgery, cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, and the subspecialties. Particularly in the area of trauma, the general surgical residents will have in-depth involvement in the care of patients with injuries involving neurosurgical, orthopedic, and plastic reconstructive aspects of surgery.
Residents are evaluated on a regular basis at the conclusion of each rotation. Semiannual feedback is provided by the program director and the department chairman. Each resident has a faculty advisor who serves as his/her “ombudsman,” meeting with the resident regularly and encouraging him/her to identify problem areas that the advisor can help resolve early in their evolution. Chief residents attend and contribute to faculty meetings, and senior residents are included on departmental retreats where they are encouraged to suggest opportunities for improvement in the residency. The program director meets monthly with all of the residents to discuss problems or opportunities for improvement in the program. Residents are asked to evaluate faculty and service at the end of each rotation as well as yearly program evaluations.
The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
Department of Surgery
1924 Alcoa Highway, Box U-11
Knoxville, Tennessee 37920-6999
FAX (865) 305-8894