The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville



The Department of Surgery

The Department of Surgery

General Surgery Residency Program

The graduate program in General Surgery is a five-year residency with five categorical positions in each year. The Department of Surgery's educational mission is to foster young surgeons into leadership positions in community practice as well as academic medicine. Departmental goals are:

  1. To give each resident trainee a solid foundation in the basic science aspects of general surgery
  2. To provide a wide variety of operative, critical care and trauma cases to manage
  3. To aquire the skills for 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
  4. To provide a graded responsibility for the patient's care commensurate with the resident's knowledge and skill levels through the residency
  5. To encourage original contributions in the areas of clinical observations, basic research, and involvement as a leader in community or academic medical associations

To accomplish this, the program provides a didactic program of lectures and conferences based on the SCORE curriculum in the basic and clinical aspects of general surgery, the surgical specialties, and those aspects of other areas of medicine essential to the care of the surgical patient, in addition to a busy clinical experience.

Conferences and Lectures

The didactic program is a self-directed learning program in the basic sciences which includes a textbook review and online 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; Practice and Professionalism Conferences are held every six-weeks and 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.

Specialty Conferences

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 University of Tennessee 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 46 full time faculty members in cardiothoracic, general, plastic and reconstructive, vascular, oncology, trauma and critical care, urologic, and surgical rehabilitation. 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.

Broad Exposure

Because there are limited fellowship programs, the general surgical resident truly has a broad exposure to general surgery, cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, and the subspecialties.

Evaluations

Residents are evaluated on a regular basis at the conclusion of each rotation utilizing New Innovations. Semiannual feedback is provided by the program director and the department chairman. Each resident has a faculty advisor who serves as his or her "ombudsman," meeting with the resident regularly and encouraging him or 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.

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