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If you are a medical student, then you already know the importance of clinical rotations. During the clinical years of medical school, students are required to participate in clinical rotations to get some hands-on experience. These rotations play an important role in advancing your medical career. During rotations, students will learn how to treat patients, how to diagnose different disorders, and create effective treatment plans. They shadow surgeons, residents, physicians at teaching hospitals and learn how to apply medical knowledge to real-life clinical situations.

Students are required to complete their clinical rotations in a variety of medical fields, including internal medicine, obstetrics, and gynecology, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery. If you are preparing for your surgery rotation, then you should know that during your surgery rotation, you have to work in the operating room to observe different surgical procedures and do patients’ rounds to check their medical condition.

Basically, surgical rotations are designed to provide students with strong technical skills such as how to perform general surgical procedures and the fundamentals of pre- and post-operative surgical care. During the two months of surgery rotations, you will learn about different surgical specialties, such as pediatric surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery, cardiothoracic surgery and so on.

If you want to succeed in your surgery rotations, here are some easy tips that clinical students should follow to perform well.

  1. Be Prepared

When it comes to attending your surgery rotation, it is important to start collecting information that will improve your concepts and provide you with a deeper understanding of the subject. Refresh your anatomy concepts, watch videos, download surgery apps to know about what the procedure entails. Fortunately, there are many YouTube channels and surgery apps that will deeply explain the surgical procedures of different organs. By watching these videos, you will feel comfortable during the actual procedures. It will be easier to understand what is happening when you have already seen the process earlier.

There are many surgery books available for medical students that you can read before starting your rotation. It will also help you prepare for your shelf examination and USMLE Step 2. You can also search for different question banks to strengthen your knowledge about the specialty and prepare you for shelf examination. Whenever you have free time, try to use surgery apps, watch YouTube channels, and practice questions by using question banks and flashcards. Doing so will better prepare you for your shelf exams.

  1. Always Be on Time

Try to be punctual and present a little early to get a clear idea of what you will learn today. Remember, physicians, residents, surgeons, and other hospital staff have to follow a strict schedule. It would be great if you get into the operating room early so that you will have enough time to pre-round. Check the vital signs of patients, determine if there are any new labs, medicines, fluids, urine output, antibiotic therapy, or anything new since the previous day.

Take ownership of your patients and take some time to talk to your patients and ask them about their condition. It will ultimately improve the quality of care and attention your patients receive. Make the most of your surgery rotation by knowing your patients in person and provide them with the excellent care they deserve. If you have some free time, create a concise presentation about your patients or simply ask the residents and attendings to assign you some more duties.

  1. Be a Quick Learner

If you want to succeed in your surgery rotation, you have to perform your duties in an efficient manner. From creating notes and presentations to rounding and knowing your patients’ condition, you have to get your tasks done early. Talk to the patients and get to know them better. Do their physical exam, wound inspection, closely monitor their electrolytes, bowel function and vitals, and other important details. When you know how your patients are doing, you will be able to treat your patients efficiently.

  1. Preparing for the Operating Room

Ask the residents and attending about the surgery in advance so that you will have enough time to know the patient’s history and any other important detail about the patient. Make it clear why the patient is undergoing surgery, what are his lab results, and what is the symptoms he is having. Read about the basic anatomy to refresh your concepts and learn about the surgical procedure in advance. During the surgical procedure, try to pay your full attention to what surgeons, residents, nurses, and other staff are doing so you will be able to help them next time.

  1. Create Post-Op Reports

Once the surgical procedure is completed, try to stick around the patient in the recovery room and help him when he wakes up. Check the patient’s vitals do the abdominal exam, labs, and report back to the team. If you find anything serious or there is some complication, then call the surgeon immediately. Try to learn how to do post-operative surgical procedures, such as how to remove drains, chest tubes, flush drains, change dressings, and other important processes. Once you know how to create a post-op report and perform post-op procedures, you will be appreciated by residents and doctors as you will save their time.

Over to You

Whether you want to become a surgeon or not, clinical rotation is your opportunity to hone your clinical skills and knowledge. Following these simple tips will help you ace your surgery clerkship and shelf examination.

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