The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: Reflecting on My Clerkship Experience: General Surgery
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Reflecting on My Clerkship Experience: General Surgery

From the AAMC Careers in Medicine Clinical Evaluation

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1. Name and Location of Clinical Rotation: Pediatric Surgery, Riley Children's Hospital

2. What did I like most about this specialty?
- The pediatric patient population
- The variety of general surgery; they operate anywhere from the neck down just about...

3. What did I like least about this specialty?
- The hours. We were in at 4:30AM to round at 5:30 and usually stayed until 4:45PM. The residents usually would stay later than that because they had more work to do.

4. Did this clinical rotation give me a good sense of what practice in this specialty would be like?
Yes, I think I got a good feel of not only the variety of general surgery within the OR, but I also got to experience a number of clinics - both general surgery and multi-disciplinary. Surgery is involved in a lot more primary care than I previously imagined.

5. Did my interests, values, skills and/or personality "fit" with this specialty? If yes, in what way did they "fit"? If no, why might they not be compatible?
I think that this was a great experience for me because I realized that I do have an interest in doing something surgical, but I do not think I am interested in a career of majority surgery. I also felt like my personality wasn't really a good fit for the surgery life - where you have to be extremely assertive and very thick-skinned. Both of which I could be, but I think I am high-strung enough where an enviroment like that would not be a good one for me.

6. What are the possible practice settings for specialists in this field? Which of these settings interest me and do I know enough about them?
General surgeons practice in both community and academic settings. I think I would like an academic setting the best because I enjoy teaching and working with multidisciplinary teams.

7. What information do I still need to find out about this specialty? None

8. Has my perception of this specialty changed based on my clinical rotation experience?
Yes! I did not think I would enjoy my surgery rotation as much as I did. I learned so much!

9. Did my clinical rotation experience influence the likelihood of choosing a career in this specialty? If yes, how did it influence me?
I do not think I will be pursuing a career in general surgery, but I would like to have some surgical/procedural aspects to the field I choose to go in. Maybe OB?

10. Right now, on a scale of 1-10, how interested am I in this specialty as a career option? 5; even though I had a lot of fun on general surgery, I think that I would enjoy a field with more balance between OR and clinic with a longterm patient relationship focus... 

11. Other comments or reflections about this rotation or specialty:

  • I really liked the procedures on general surgery more than ENT. I think mainly because it was a bigger working area and the anatomy is so clear
  • Even though there was a ton of variety on pediatric surgery, I have heard that adult general surgery is mainly in the abdomen - think stomach, gall bladder, appendix, intestines, colon....
  • Knowing when a patient had a bowel movement is VERY important...I might go as far as to say it's as important as the vital signs...haha
  • During my last week on service, I was in two really big cases (a Wilms tumor and a neuroblastoma removal). Some parts of the case were really challenging, but it was so cool to see all of the OR staff working together to get things done - surgeons, pathologist, anesthesiologists, nurses, surgical techs, the blood bank... It was definitely the epitome of teamwork
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