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Become a member and receive career-enhancing benefits

Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

Become a Member
Become a member and receive career-enhancing benefits

Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

Membership Benefits
ACS
Online Guide

What to Expect in a Surgical Residency Program

Although the day-in-day-out grind of a surgical resident's life can vary depending on which specialty and which program you enter, there are some common features inherent in all surgical residents' daily schedules.

The American College of Surgeons has published a Statement that addresses issues related to the working conditions for surgical residents. The Statement on Surgical Residencies and the Educational Environment is available for viewing online on the College's Web site.

Although the day-in-day-out grind of a surgical resident's life can vary depending on which specialty and which program you enter, there are some common features inherent in all surgical residents' daily schedules. One surgical resident at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, reports that a typical three-day schedule looks like this:

Monday

6:30 am

Early morning rounds

7:30 am - 12:00 noon

Surgery

12:00 noon

Vascular Conference with lunch

1:30 - 3:30 pm

Surgical Clinic

3:30 - 4:30 pm

Trauma Conference

4:30 - Until finished

Evening rounds: Check out to on-call team (if not on call)

Tuesday

5:30 am

Early morning rounds

6:30 am

Tumor Conference (Head and Neck or Soft Tissue Sarcoma); breakfast provided

7:30 am - 4:30 pm

Surgery

4:30 pm

Until finished -Evening rounds: Check out to on-call team (if not on call)

Wednesday

6:00 am

Early morning rounds

6:30 am - 8:00 am

Department Chairperson's conference

8:00 am

Surgery Grand Rounds

9:00 am - 12:00 noon

Surgery

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Clinic or private office hours

Value of Electives During Medical School

During your fourth year of medical school you will have the opportunity to take some electives. Most program directors agree that the fourth year of medical school should be spent learning things you won't get to during residency years. Recommended electives include: anesthesia, radiology, intensive care (either surgical or medical), pulmonary, and cardiology. You should refer to the American College of Surgeons Prerequisite Objectives for Graduate Surgical Education: A Study of the Graduate Medical Education Committee and determine wherein your deficiencies lie. Arrange your electives accordingly.

"Away" electives

Most general surgery programs do not require that you do a surgery elective at program sites that you are interested in (sometimes referred to as audition electives). However, orthopaedic surgery programs do make a strong recommendation that you do. The other specialties lie somewhere in between. You need to identify an advisor or two and get their input as to the impact of doing such an elective.