Department of Surgery

Third Year Surgery Clerkship

The 5-week surgery clerkship is one component of the adult inpatient experience for medical students. The surgery clerkship, in the double helix curriculum, achieves established goals and objectives by conducting a series of conferences and presentations at each site, which address the core curriculum. At the same time it is important to maintain the apprenticeship type learning environment, which is essential for the achievement of clinical competence.

The surgery clerkship is an intensive in-hospital patient care experience conducted at the following sites: Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, and Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY. Students will be asked to indicate a site preference in advance of the clerkship. At each site, students are assigned to a preceptor and will be expected to function as an integral member of their surgical team. Students will also be expected to attend both the team’s clinics and operative procedures.

Overall Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of the clerkship is to teach students the basic principles of surgical diagnosis and management, both operative and non-operative. Students should learn the indications for appropriate and timely referral of patients for surgical consultation. It is important for the student to gain an appreciation for the physical, psychological and socioeconomic disruptions that might accompany surgical illnesses. The student should recognize that proper surgical care involves accurate diagnosis, the exercise of judgment in selecting patients for surgery, and the application of proper skills, values, and attitudes in the total care of the patient.

Site Descriptions

  • Strong Memorial Hospital: Students will spend their time on one of the services listed below. Overnight call will be taken by all students with the trauma service. Call will be on average once a week. (Service requests are considered)
    • Surgical Oncology Service: This is a busy broad based general surgery service with a focus in surgical oncology. The students can expect to see a wide breadth of surgical disease ranging from simple hernias to complex pancreatic lesions on this service.
    • Colorectal Surgery Service: This is also a broad based general surgery service with both bariatric and colorectal disease as a focus. The students can expect to see a wide breadth of surgical disease on this service as well.
    • Trauma and Acute Surgery Service: This service deals with all the trauma and emergency surgery at Strong. It is a heavily ER based practice, with some elective general surgery as well.
    • Foregut/Thoracic Surgery Service: This service deals with both thoracic and foregut disease, concentrating on pulmonary and esophageal pathology.
    • Pediatric Surgery: This service sees a wide variety of cases ranging from hernias to Wilm’s tumors.
  • Highland Hospital: This is a community hospital with two surgical services. The service assignment depends on the student’s preceptor. The case mix is varied on both services. Students can expect to see a lot of bread and butter general surgery as well as some vascular surgery and advanced laparoscopy.
  • Rochester General Hospital: This is a tertiary care hospital on the Northeast side of Rochester that draws patients with a wide variety of surgical problems. There are also two teams there, but students will be assigned mainly to the general surgery rather than the vascular surgery service.
  • Mary Imogene Bassett: This is a community hospital in Cooperstown, NY. It has its own residency program, and a very dedicated teaching faculty. Students see a wide variety of general surgery as well as some subspecialties. Housing is provided within walking distance to the hospital, and a computer lab is open 24 hours/day.

Student Programs

For further information, please contact Office of Surgical Education, Student Program, at (585) 273-1712.