Hey everyone! Today, I want to share with you guys my experience in my surgery rotation, as well as some hopefully helpful tips for the shelf exam. If you missed the one from my Family Medicine rotation, you can read all about it here.
So, if you all couldn't tell surgery has been my favorite rotation thus far. I mean okay, I've only done family med, surgery, then peds (currently). But out of all of them surgery has been the most fun, and it totally caught my attention. In the beginning, I was so shy and it was hard to truly step out of my comfort zone. I feel like surgery is a lot of that - you really have to speak up and/or just jump in and get your feet wet! Thankfully, my preceptor was very great at teaching and she even offered to go over high-yield concepts (GI, Breast Cancer, Trauma, etc). The hospital that I'm at for rotations is smaller so there isn't much of a variety when it came to surgery, but I made sure to truly take it in and take advantage of the procedures I did get to see and/or assist in. Also, I was able to see other surgeries in obgyn and orthopedics if schedule allowed for it!
Here are some "I wish I knew this for my surgery rotation" tips:
- Speak up, and lend a helping hand. At first I would just ask "do you need any help with anything?" But then I found that the nurses and scrub techs will just keep saying "no we're okay". SO, I figured you really have to specifically say "Can I help bring in the patient?" or "Can I grab you some warm blankets?" Be more specific when wanting to help so they don't turn you down. Then, you feel even more useful!
- Do a morning scrub. I wish I did this from the beginning. This way, you're ready to go and can use Avagard throughout the day. Of course, if your preceptor wants you to do a full "scrub-in" before each case then do that.
- ALWAYS get in the OR room WAY BEFORE the doctor. I got told a couple times because I came in after the doc. OOPS. You live and you learn.
- Introduce yourself to the circulating nurse, and tell them you're the medical student. That way, especially if you're scrubbed in, they'll already know your name so they can document it.
- Don't touch anything sterile (things in blue, are blue, etc) - THANK GOD that this didn't happen to me. Just keep your hands on your chest/belly area once gowned/gloved up.
- Practice some hand ties.
These are the main ones I can think of, but if you guys have more specific questions I can try & answer them for you!
As far as the shelf exam, here are some resources I used:
- Surgical Recall: it's a great resource, in a Q&A format. Pretty much has A LOT of what you may be asked during the rotation, as well as the shelf.
- Dr. Pestana's Surgery Notes: This is more of a quick & condensed resource. Still a great read though!
- Case Files Surgery: Honestly, didn't really read through this one that much. I did go over the Breast Cancer cases in this book.
- High Yield Surgery Video: this was a great review for before the shelf. I probably watched it about 2 times through.
- Q-Banks: I used COMBANK and COMQUEST, specifically the ones for the surgery COMAT (D.O. version of the shelf).
Hope this helps! Shoot me a message if y'all have any questions :)