The UW Department of Surgery focuses on the development of the total surgeon in the three areas of intellect, skills and humanity. All residents are required to complete one academic project for graduation with a UW faculty mentor. This was instituted so that all residents have the benefit of compiling, analyzing, synthesizing and presenting scientific data even when laboratory research time is not done. The Department of Surgery has numerous resources available to our residents to assist with project design, IRB application, data analysis, presentation and grant funding. We also strongly believe that review of surgical outcomes and problem-based learning and improvement should be an ongoing pursuit that is woven into the fabric of a surgical career for residents and faculty. For this reason, we have incorporated review of our NSQIP and SCOAP data into our weekly M&M conference. Residents are also exposed to formal workshops designed to improve their teaching skills and provide a foundation in principles of adult education in a clinical setting. Excellence in teaching is an important expectation for both faculty and residents alike.
The Department is fortunate to have a number of faculty nationally renowned in the areas of surgical simulation, skills acquisition and robotics. We have a formal technical skills curriculum for our residents at all levels that include both open and laparoscopic operative techniques. This curriculum has been in place for over 15 years and encompasses the full range of topics from the ACS/APDS Surgical Skills Curriculum for Residents. Team training in our simulated OR began in 2008 and our simulated ICU and trauma bay opened in 2010. Residents are assigned to faculty-directed technical skills labs designed to introduce operative techniques with both animate and inanimate models and surgical simulators. These labs occur at each year of training and are designed to be level-specific. Technical skills training is provided in ISIS (Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies). This is a multi-disciplinary simulation center containing both high-tech and low-tech simulations to learn technical skills.
The program provides a Leadership curriculum. The six ACGME competencies have provided a clear framework for instruction in other areas of medicine such as palliative care, ethics, professionalism and practice management-related topics.
Didactic and Clinical Teaching Activities
In addition to the usual bedside, clinic, and operating room teaching activities, a more formal approach is taken on two levels: department-wide and hospital-based.
Departmental Grand Rounds is held once per month at the University hospital. Department teaching conferences are concentrated in a four hour weekly block of time on Wednesday mornings known as the Surgical Science Series. This weekly conference is held at a central location and continental breakfast is served. The Surgical Science Series is an interactive conference based upon the national SCORE curriculum and is headed by a faculty member expert in that area. The conference is divided into 2 sessions. The junior resident sessions focus on building a foundation in basic general surgical principles. The senior resident sessions focus on classical reviews of the surgical literature and evidence-based approaches to specific topics. Each session encompasses surgical DVD reviews of operative tips and ends with a mock oral board-type question. Wednesday morning is a time to enjoy the company of fellow residents and faculty from around the system, to catch up on the latest advances and help foster the camaraderie, fellowship and community that make residency a positive experience.
In addition to department-wide conferences, each of the teaching hospitals has a weekly M & M review plus individual conferences based on the clinical emphasis of its services. These include Medical-Surgical GI, Pathology, Chest, Trauma, Vascular Surgery, Medical-Surgical Cardiac, Oncology, and a twice-weekly Intensive Care Unit Conference to name only a few.
Conference activities are supplemented by selected reference materials furnished by the department for residents' personal use. Fully equipped libraries, computers and study areas are available to the residents at each training site.
Residency Advisory Council
Surgery residents are intimately involved as representatives at the department, university and national level. Residents meet once per month with the chairman and the program director informally following Grand Rounds. The surgery department's Residency Advisory Council is composed of an elected member from each resident year. This council advises the Chairman and the Residency Program Directors on issues of concern and interest to residents. They meet regularly with the Program Directors to furnish counsel on matters related to the residency program. This furnishes a central mechanism for resident participation in the structure of their program.
Residents also serve as ad hoc members on the department's Education Workgroup where residents have input. Our residents also serve on the UW Dean's House staff and Fellow Advisory Committees. The UW is very open to including resident participation on various other committees, workgroups and task forces so that residents can have a voice in their hospital and GME community. Our surgery residents also are represented on national bodies including the AAMC, the RRC and the American College of Surgeons sections for residents.