The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers a classical five-year clinical program in general surgery. The program accepts eight first-year surgical residents; three are accepted for one or two years prior to entering a surgical specialty residency program. Five applicants are accepted for the entire five-year categorical program in general surgery.
The philosophy of the program is increased patient care responsibility over the five years of residency training. The program is under the supervision of the Chairman of the Department, the full-time and clinical faculty. The clinical material is broadly based with a mixture of primary, secondary and tertiary care. The program encompasses a broad spectrum of general surgery, with the majority of the training at University Medical Center. There are rotations in the Regional Burn Center, Wound Care Center and Level 1 Trauma Center at University Medical Center as well as rotations in the major surgical specialties including Urology, Neurosurgery, Pediatric surgery, Cardiothoracic surgery, Vascular surgery and Transplantation.
In addition to the clinical opportunities presented by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, its presence adjacent to the University Medical Center facilities provides opportunities for those interested in research. All of our residents are encouraged to participate in at least one research project during their residency experience. Thus, the main thrust of the five-year clinical residency program is broad training with appropriate supervision, teaching and operative experience.
First Residency Year
The training year is divided between six months of General Surgery and Trauma and six months of subspecialties such as ENT, Urology and Neurosurgery. During the first year a foundation is laid for the resident to enter the mid-level years, with increased operative and patient care responsibilities. During the first year the residents are introduced to a comprehensive curriculum in the TTUHSC Surgical Skills Center providing the necessary prerequisite for early “hands on” operative training resulting in most interns completing the year with 100-150 defined category cases as primary surgeon and more than 300 cases total.
Second Residency Year
During the second year, responsibilities increase both operatively and perioperatively. The residents rotate through Burns, Trauma, SICU and Pediatric Surgery acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills to become team leaders and competent first responders in the case of severely injured or ill patients. They assume primary responsibility for the care of very sick or severely injured patients under the supervision of a chief resident and a teaching faculty member in both the Trauma and Surgical ICU and in the Burn ICU. On the Pediatric Surgery service, they perform many of the less complicated operations under the direct supervision of the Pediatric Surgery faculty.
Third Residency Year
During the third year, the residents rotate through General Surgery, Trauma, Breast Surgery, Vascular Surgery and Rural Surgery. During this year, the residents are team leaders on some of their services and their surgical skills, knowledge and experience make them qualified to perform complex surgery under direct supervision. This is a challenging year as the residents ascend significantly in operative and perioperative responsibilities. Learning supervision of more junior members of the team, delegating tasks and monitoring their completion become key focal points during this crucial year. Since third year residents perform most of the operations, there is heavy emphasis on operative judgement and clinical skills.
Fourth Residency Year
During the fourth year, the residents rotate through General Surgery, Trauma, Surgical Oncology, Bariatric Surgery, Minimally Invasive Surgery and Transplant. At this level, the residents are very comfortable and competent performing most major surgeries within our specialties under direct supervision, leading a team and being the highest level resident on call.
Fifth Residency Year
During the cumulative fifth year, the residents rotate through the General Surgery services running the team, organizing and staffing the Chief Resident Clinic, attending to administrative duties, teaching, performing on the average 200-250 major cases and preparing to pass the American Board of Surgery written and oral exams.