Frequently Asked Questions


What if I am exposed to blood/body fluids?
Blood/Body Fluid Exposure Guidelines

How often will I take call?
Call is generally Q4, but may vary according to your assigned site. Contact your site for specifics.

Do I have to work on holidays?
MS3 should NOT expect to report for work on holidays but may be expected to work weekends.
MS4 are expected to work holidays, unless the start date of the rotation falls on a holiday.
Where do I park for Seattle sites?
UWMC - visit UW Commuter Services website
Harborview - parking is obtained in Room 8EH-70. Call 744-3254 if you have questions regarding HMC parking. Surgery Clerkship students are allowed Boren Garage parking.
Virginia Mason - no parking accomodations. Please contact Virginia Mason site coordinator for assistance.
VA - parking is free

What if I need special accommodations for pregnancy, learning impairment, or physical impairment?
These arrangements are made by Office of Student Affairs in A-300. It is wise, however, to let us know as far in advance as possible so there are no miscues. The School of Medicine should contac the Department of Surgery coordinator but please reach out to make sure.

What if I get sick?
Please see our absentee policy. Email your teams Chief Resident and the Department of Surgery coordinator.

How do I arrange housing at one of the WWAMI sites ?
Information on WWAMI student travel may be found online at: Student Travel & Policy Procedures. For specific housing quesitons, contact the site coordinator where you are assigned.

Will I be supplied with a pager?
No, it is your responsibility to obtain a pager. UWMC students are not required to obtain a pager.

What if I forget my access code for patient data privileges?
Call UW Technology IT services at (206) 543-7012 for assistance.

Clerkship Specific

Will I be on call my first night of the clerkship?
This may happen. It is a good idea to come prepared to take call the first day just in case.

What if I need a day off for a wedding or a conference?
Please do NOT assume you can get the time off. With permission from the clerkship director, students may be excused for 1-2 days (including travel time) which may or may not be required to make up. Please send all requests to Kathryn Jansen ( For more information, read the SOM Clerkship Absentee Policy

Consensus site grades are supplied by site directors and sent verbatim to the Dean. The Site Directors are:
Billings Clinic: Dr. Scott Dull  |  Billings Surgical Associates: Dr. Jeffrey Rentz
Boise: Dr. Kim Lynch
Caldwell: Drs. Cornwell and Hardy
Casper: Dr. James Anderson
Fairbanks: Dr. Timothy Teslow
Harborview: Dr. Grant O'Keefe
Kalispell: Dr. Sydney Lillard
Madigan: Dr. Horton
Missoula: Dr. Bradley Pickhardt
Sheridan: Dr. Sara Smith
Spokane: Dr. Timothy Bax
UWMC: Dr. Kristine Calhoun
Virginia Mason: Dr. Jared Brandenberger
Wenatchee: Dr. Straub
How do I excel on the clinical portion of the rotation?
Know your patients and their disease processes, be prepared for the operating room with an understanding of the procedure, alternatives and relevant anatomy and physiology. Be a proactive and ENTHUSIASTIC member of the surgical team.

Is one site more generous with clinical Honors?
Historically, no. Although the results are uneven over the span of the academic year (e.g. more honors in January than in July)

What if I fail Surgery Clerkship?
Please discuss the policy with the Department of Surgery coordinator.

If, at the end of my clerkship, all my write-ups have not been returned , what should I do?
Please notify the support staff at your site which faculty members still have your work. This will help in getting your grade compiled in a timely fashion.

If I finished my clerkship a long time ago and I haven't received a grade, what should I do?
The Department has up to 30 days to process grades. If you do not have a grade after 30 days contact the Department of Surgery coordinator for help. Grades must be processed by the Department before they go to the Dean's office. Professors and students must not give grades directly to the Dean.

When can I take my final exam?
The final exam for the surgery clerkship is always given on the last Friday morning of the rotation. Please plan to take the exam at that time.