Resident Education

Photo: Residents at AATSAll residents spend at least one month of dedicated and protected research time and most residents spend one to three years in the NIH-funded clinical or basic science research laboratories combining academic excellence with clinical expertise. At UVA, residents will attend weekly and daily conferences as part of their curriculum.  It is a culture and an expectation that residents in our program seek opportunities to educate. Many UVA students cite this as a reason to seek entrance to our residency, and the plethora of teaching awards won by our residents stand as evidence to this fact.

Resident Education per Year

The General Surgery Program at the University of Virginia offers a unique commitment to the residents through a rigorous clinical experience, dedicated research and a structured curriculum striving to create the future leaders in academic surgery. During the five-years of the clinical program, residents gain knowledge of the pre-operative and post-operative patient care with a strong focus on critical care, develop surgical technical skills and most importantly, acquire pre-, intra-, and post-operative decision making skills.

Photo: UVA Medical Student in trainingPGY-1

During their intern year, general surgery residents will be exposed to the majority of surgical specialties.  They will complete 4 week rotations in the following: Blue surgery (colorectal), Orange surgery (laparoscopy, upper GI, bariatric), Gold surgery (surgical oncology, endocrine), Green surgery (hepatobiliary), Plastic surgery, Cardiothoracic or Vascular surgery, Transplant surgery, Surgical critical care, Surgical Nutrition & Endoscopy, Pediatric surgery and Night float. Most of their time is spent learning pre-operative and post-operative patient management and acquiring basic surgical skills in the operating room or in the surgical skills laboratory. The incoming intern class consists of approximately 17 residents, 5 of whom are in the categorical general surgery program.

Photo: UVA Medical Student in trainingPGY-2

Greater responsibility, autonomy and a higher level of surgical skills are acquired during the second year. Residents focus extensively on the management of critically ill patients, participate in basic laparoscopic cases, but also learn more advance techniques of vascular surgery as they rotate through transplant & vascular access service, Trauma and Cardiovascular/Thoracic intensive care unit, Endoscopy and Vascular surgery. During the second year, residents have the opportunity to care for the veterans as they spend several months at the Veterans’ Hospital in Salem Virginia. Second year residents also start to function as the general surgery consult resident in close coordination with a chief resident.

Following completion of the second year, residents are encouraged to pursue basic science or clinical research.

Photo: UVA Medical Student in trainingPGY-3

An in-depth look at the surgical education with a specific focus on patient evaluation and operating occurs during the third year of residency. Four to five months are typically spent on general surgery services, one to two months on Surgical oncology, Thoracic surgery and Acute Care Surgery. In addition, the third year residents act as the first line surgical consultant.

Photo: UVA Medical Student in trainingPGY-4

During the fourth year residents spend much more time functioning as the chief of service. Residents rotate on Pediatric Surgery, Vascular, Trauma and Red (endocrine) surgery. One block is spent at Augusta Medical Center, a busy community hospital, in Fishersville, VA.

Photo: UVA Department of SurgeryPGY-5

By the fifth year, our residents emerge as skilled surgeons performing complex cases and perfecting their surgical techniques and clinical decision making skills. The Chief general surgery rotations include Blue surgery (colorectal), Orange surgery (laparoscopy, upper GI, bariatric), Green surgery (hepatobiliary), and a rotation at the Salem Veterans Hospital. As Chiefs, they assume great responsibilities for patient care and education, mentoring and management of their teams. Chiefs also finalize their plans for fellowship or practice following completion of their general surgery residency training.

Operative Experience

The Surgery Residents at UVA finish with a multitude of cases and a vast experience in very complex ones, more than satisfying the requirements set forth by the American Board of Surgery. The following are the average case totals for the graduated chief class of 2019.

Laparoscopic Skills Laboratory

Fundamental surgical skills including laparoscopy are learned in a skills laboratory located in the Education Resource Center. In addition, residents have the opportunity to travel to national meetings and further improve their laparoscopic techniques.

Photo: UVA Medical Simulation Lab
Photo: UVA Medical Simulation Lab
Photo: UVA Medical Simulation Lab

Additional Information

Applications to our program are accepted through Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS AAMC).