This marks the beginning of a very exciting and, at times, very stressful metamorphosis in your professional lives. The process of becoming a competent surgeon is far more than just a job. Our program is going through just as significant a metamorphosis, with a significant amount of energy going into the development of a comprehensive educational curriculum. This aspect of your training is just as important for your success as the number and breadth of cases that you “scrub” on. We are also expanding the breadth and depth of our surgical faculty.

There are many individual policies that relate to your role as a surgical resident but, for the purposes of this introduction, as the program director, there are two things that I wish to emphasize. Residency is, first and foremost, graduate medical education and, like college and medical school, there is a certain level of academic performance that is expected to pass the course. Much of our curriculum is now web based and accessible from anywhere that you have a computer. We also provide you with all the important textbooks that are necessary. My requirement to “pass the course” is that you stay up with the assigned readings and that you actively participate in the conferences. The 80-hour work week has its obvious benefits for your quality of life but it also creates a significant hurdle that you must clear and that is; it introduces numerous opportunities for distraction. It will require that you hone your skills at prioritizing, because, and make no mistake about this; your acquisition of a sound surgical fund of knowledge is your top priority in this program. The second matter has to do with teamwork. Surgery is always about team. There are many tasks that are asked of you during a “day” in your residency and on occasions there will be conflicting demands and expectations. You need to be able to look to your peers for assistance. We all need to be willing to take something else on to help get the job done. The care of our patients is the first priority but care for our colleagues is right behind it. We are an extended family and before you walk out the door at the end of the day you should ask yourself, not am "I" done but are "we" done.

The Department of Surgery is committed to providing categorical surgical residents the best possible training for their chosen career. In addition to a strong clinical experience, we also believe that a formal one to two year research elective will provide additional opportunities for categorical residents to expand their training. The research elective  offers residents the chance to compete for competitive fellowships, enhance medical knowledge and prepare for a career in academic medicine.

A defining characteristic of this program is the relationship between the faculty and the resident staff. The faculty is committed to making outstanding surgeons of the residents and the doors are always open for any questions or concerns. Remember, the faculty is here because of you.

So once again, welcome.

Andy Hackford, Program Director

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