I am currently doing Surgery posting in the allegedly best referral hospital in Nizhniy Novgorod region. Surgery posting is not-so-intense posting, like other med schools in the world, but once you work as a doctor in surgery department, it’s probably a whole different story.
I got some tips from medical students from other medical school on how to “ace” surgical posting, or in my med school, how to get credit by the end of the posting and feel great about it (ngenge). Credits for those who shared their great tips 🙂
- Books – There are lots of surgery textbooks recommended for medical students. Books for review and revision recommended are Oxford Handbook of Clinical Surgery and Surgical Recall. In NNSMA they give new NMS Surgery 5th edition by Lippincott. Core textbooks should be read for greater understanding; they are Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, Greenfield’s Surgery, Bailey and Love’s etc.
- Wards - Wards are great to check out how patients do pre-op and post-op. Though students in my med school rarely participate in ward rounds, they are let to clerk and examine patients in the wards. Clerking and PE are the most important work in surgery posting for med students because more than 80% of clinical diagnosis can be made through accurate history and examination alone (Oxford Handbook of Clinical Surgery pg. 11). You do exactly the same thing you did in Medicine in the wards. However most of the PE is new. Respiratory,neurology and cardiology examination will rarely be used here. Only GI examination is used. Other PEs to be learnt in Surgery includes hernia, thyroid, breast, venous system of lower limb etc. If a medical student participate in ward rounds, be prepared to be asked questions by the specialists (it is called “pimping”).
- Clinics – Though med students in my school rarely go to surgery clinic, it is an awesome learning experience. Follow consultants to learn from the knowledgeable and experienced . They often have nifty tricks, shortcuts to exams and pearls of wisdoms. You might get some pimping though 🙂 Follow surgeons-in-training who are preparing for surgical exams. They might be freer to teach as well. Participate in active learning, clerk and examine patients and report back to your supervising surgeon.
- Procedures and Operations – Going to the Operation Theatre may sound glamorous but seriously, you cannot learn anything if you don’t read beforehand. Even if you have read you will realize that theory and practical are two very different things. There is not much thing that can be learnt in the OT, so just go spend more times in the ward with patients. If you got a chance to watch or assist in procedures and operations, go for it. You should at least know why and how to do it. But if you don’t, it is not the end of your medical career (medical students aren’t meant to do surgery). Housemanship will make you do procedures till you cry. The good student would have read about the procedure, the distinction student would have memorized all the steps.
Please feel free to post more tips in the comments section!