Ah, the surgery rotation. Gowning and gloving? Long hours? Sterile field? Alright..let’s take it one step at a time.
Loved my surgery rotation & sometimes still miss being in the OR. Be prepared for long hours, but the joy of this rotation comes from it being hands-on. I never found myself checking the clock because everything was so fascinating. I’ve collaborated with Anthony Gauthier, Ortho Surgical PA-C who has been practicing for 10 years (#goals). I’ll say what I have to say quickly so you can get onto reading his expert tips later in this post.
Books I recommend:
Alright, now it's Anthony's part...
Surgery Rotation tips
By: Anthony Gauthier, PA-C
It is time for your surgery rotation and you are determined to do so well, even Dr. Richard Webber would be calling you to offer you a job (if Grey’s Anatomywas ever hiring PAs).
Rounding: This is the time spent evaluating the patients that are currently admitted. They may be immediately post op, waiting to be medically maximized and cleared to have surgery, or a new consult added to the never ending list. Rounding is typically done very early in the morning.
Get there early for pre-rounding (say what???). In order to have a good understanding of each patient you need to take time reviewing the chart. Make sure you have a piece of paper or the patient list, then spend time reviewing the chart notes to know the specifics of each patient
Important items to have listed:
Other rounding tips
Now that you are ready to round let the pimping begin...
“Pimping:" Pimping is being asked questions on the spot, as a form to improve learning. The questions are typically esoteric and asked in hopes to stump you or think deeper about a situation.
Some places will have you round as a team with the Attending Physician present. While discussing the patient the Attending may ask you specific and detailed questions about the patient or their disease state
The Operating Room
Get there early!
Many consider the surgery rotation as stressful but once you know what to expect and what the routine is, surgery becomes their favorite rotation. Like any other rotation you get back what you put in. Always be willing to stay late or help on as many cases as possible.
Taking night call is not fun, so if you can, volunteer to stay to help the evening call person. This will help you get remembered and you never know, going the extra mile during rotations can very well help you land your first job out of PA school!
That's all! As always, if we've missed something, please let us know! If this was helpful, share it with your buddies/classmates. Enjoy your rotation!
-Melody, PA-C, MPH & Anthony, Ortho Surgical PA-C