My Surgery Clerkship Experience

Well hello there! I’m writing this blog right before I enter a very crazy time, so this might be my last post for a little while. Upcoming, I have a 7 day stretch of internal medicine wards (which completely leaves me exhausted at the end of the day), my internal med shelf, MY WEDDING (21 days from now), step 2, and two away rotations back-to-back, meanwhile applying to residency. I am so excited for this next year – it will be such a whirlwind. But in exactly a year, I will be panicking about starting residency so soon. So I will be doing my best to keep everything in perspective during times of stress.

ANYWAY. I finished up my surgery rotation a little over a month ago and will share my thoughts below!


My surgery clerkship was divided into 2 weeks general surgery, 2 weeks surgical oncology, 1 week night float, 1 week SICU (surgical intensive care unit), and 2 weeks of elective (I chose plastic surgery and breast surgery). This was easily my least favorite rotation, but I tried to focus more on the positive things below 🙂

Without further ado, here are some quick bullets on things I learned, experienced, liked, and disliked about pediatrics!


  • The immediate gratification of surgery is very appealing. One second, you have a screaming gallbladder that is causing you intense pain and is potentially fatal. The next moment, it is out of your body and no longer causing any problems.
  • Trauma surgery was my favorite of the entire rotation! I got such a thrill when the pager went of with a P1 trauma (priority 1 = most pressing trauma). I saw knife wounds, car accidents, electrical burns, and more. It made me realize that the blunt of the intense trauma in the trauma bay actually goes to the trauma surgeons rather than the emergency medicine doctors. But, they both work as a team to do a primary assessment of the patient.
  • I love robotic surgery. Playing with the Da Vinci was my favorite simulation day. Here’s a video of Da Vinci sewing a grape back together 🙂


  • I have to be honest with you all, there is way more that I disliked than I liked. With all the hours of this rotation and feeling like I wasn’t contributing that much, I quickly got tired of the intense hours. Waking up at 4am and leaving the hospital at 6pm was draining physically and emotionally.
  • I think the longest surgery I was in was 7 hours long. There are no breaks for the surgeons. While the circulating nurse and scrub techs get to rotate out to eat and use the restroom, the surgeons are by the patients side the entire procedure.
  • The bread and butter of a surgeon is appendectomies and cholecystectomies which I don’t find too interesting.

what I learned:

  • Surgeons do way more medicine than I ever anticipated. I thought they just cut people. They manage every single one of their patients medically and have lots of follow up in clinic.
  • I believe surgical patients are some of the most vulnerable patients. The surgeons I worked with were always amazing to the patient, knowing every single detail of their chart and seeing them before the surgery, giving them comfort.


Next up: Internal Medicine!

see you all in just a few weeks! 🙂


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