General Surgery Residency Program

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Program Overview

The general surgery residency is a five-year program encompassing all aspects of general surgery as well as the surgical specialties, with an optional year of basic research available. The general surgical subspecialties include endocrine surgery, gastrointestinal surgery, surgical oncology, vascular surgery, advanced laparoscopic surgery, surgical ICU, and trauma surgery. Residents can also be assigned to other surgical services including orthopaedic surgery and urology. Six categorical residency positions are offered each year and we also offer 14 preliminary internship positions annually.

PGY1: Assignments during this year are for one-month blocks, providing exposure to general and specialty services in the four affiliated hospitals: ART, VA, Main and the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital. The resident will rotate through general surgery and the surgical specialties including anesthesia, cardiothoracic surgery, transplant, vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, and urology. Emphasis is directed to the fundamentals of both preoperative and postoperative surgical care and to learning fundamental technical skills.

PGY2: Assignments in this year are for one to two month periods, focusing on pediatric surgery, trauma/acute care, cardiothoracic ICU, vascular surgery, breast/endocrine surgery, transplant surgery, night ART, and STICU.

PGY3: Assignments are one to two months long and include transplant, night emergency/trauma, and gastrointestinal surgery services (colorectal surgery, MIS, pancreatic biliary surgery) as well as the general surgery service at the VA Hospital and a community rotation at an offsite hospital.

PGY4: During this year, residents serve as senior general surgical residents on the night emergency/trauma service, breast/endocrine surgery, gastrointestinal surgery services, pediatric surgery service, and vascular surgery. They also do a thoracic surgery month and a rotation with a group of well-respected surgeons at a community hospital.

PGY5: During this year residents serve as general surgical chief residents on the gastrointestinal surgery services, surgical oncology, night/emergency trauma service, and the VA general surgery services. The chief resident is expected to assume maximum responsibility for all aspects of surgical care on each service. 

On-Call Schedule Night call for most services is covered by the night emergency/trauma (NET) service or the night ART (NART) service. This schedule may vary according to the assigned rotation. Work schedules are established so that residents work less than 80 hours per week with one day in seven "off", ten hours off between duty shifts, and a maximum of 24 hours on call. 

Research Year Residents have the opportunity to take a one to two year period away from clinical rotations to participate in full-time laboratory research in one of several areas of surgery including oncology, transplant immunology, and cardiovascular surgery. Research residents will be expected to take one call shift per month. 

Educational Activities

Didactic conferences are scheduled regularly throughout the program.  On a weekly basis, the surgical service conference reviews all morbidity and mortality cases. Additionally, a weekly basic science and clinical seminar series reviews a core curriculum of topics relevant to surgical care. Presentations are given by members of the surgical staff, faculty from other clinical and basic science departments, and senior surgical house officers. Surgical grand rounds are held once a month and include presentations from all aspects of general surgery such as vascular, endocrine, trauma and gastrointestinal surgery, as well as the surgical subspecialties.  Level-specific (junior and senior) journal clubs are held bi-monthly at various restaurants in and around downtown Charleston.

In each hospital, surgical clinics are held weekly for the follow-up of patient care. Attendance at clinics is required for all surgical residents.

All general surgery categorical residents and selected preliminary interns take the annual in-service examination of the American Board of Surgery (ABS). Upper-level residents also are given mock oral examinations, which closely approximate the conditions and content of the ABS certifying examination.