Department of Surgery
Residency Program - Description
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.