Hello guys! Now that I have matched into a general surgery residency, I feel like I can discuss all of the great tools that contributed to successful away rotations in general surgery. I believe the biggest tool that you can possess is a great work ethic because many of these surgical away rotations are grueling. Residents and attendings may expect you to be an acting intern, rounding and presenting patients, studying for OR cases, performing techniques, and working the same number of hours as residents. The following tools can also add to your experience, so continue reading for some of my favorite things on my away rotations!
- Pocket Surgery: This is a very comprehensive book on things you will need to know if you have an interest in general surgery. This book is broken up into different topics and is meant to be a reference book vs. a teaching book. This book was developed for use by residents and will help guide you through diagnosis, assessment, and plan. This book has relevant anatomy and is the perfect size for your white coat. I really liked having this on my downtime and it looked more discrete than reading off of my phone. It also saved me on many pimp questions!
- Surgical Recall: This is the quintessential book for medical students starting out on a surgical rotation. This book is also broken up into different topics and surgical sub-specialties. I would highly recommend reading through this book before away rotations or at least the night before cases in the OR. For me, I was able to find the majority of pimp question answers in this book and it has very relevant anatomy pictures. It is also written in a “question and answer” style that allows you to quiz yourself, making it a more effective book to learn from!
- Suturing Kit/Materials: There is no substitute than a real patient to suture on and depending on your rotation, you may not have ample opportunities. There are a variety of suture boards on the internet but the most inexpensive way is to find expired suture (ask preceptors or nurses in the OR) and pig’s feet or a banana. The best and easiest source for directions are YouTube videos!
- Hand Tie: You will be expected to know how to hand tie, specifically one and two-handed ties. You can use expired suture, shoelaces, or crafting thread and videos from YouTube to learn this. If you find that you are in between cases with nothing to do, carry a handful of string to practice!
- Touch Surgery App: This free app was developed by surgeons to teach residents step-by-step how to do specific procedures. This app is AMAZING for those who are serious about pursuing surgery because there are many videos for each surgical specialty ranging from OBGYN to orthopaedics. The app is a visual interactive interface that allows you to be quizzed at the end of every learning module. If I knew that there was a specific type of hernia repair the next day, I would watch the module in this app so that when I scrubbed in, I was able to keep up with what the residents and attendings were doing. HIGHLY recommend!
- Visible Body App: This app is great for anatomy as it is an interactive 3D model that allows you to rotate, zoom, and “dissect” different anatomy. I highly recommend this if you are able to catch this app on sale for less than $1.99! I used this app to review minute anatomy such as vessels and nerves to different organs.
I hope these suggestions are helpful for those interested in pursuing surgery on away/audition rotations!