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The residency experience -- "Surgical PG PA BLOG"

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icon10.gifThe residency experience -- "Surgical PG PA BLOG"

Hi Everyone,


I'm in a Surgical Residency Program in WI, they only take 2 PA's / year. Just thought I might throw some of my experiences in here as well. As I know this was a tough decision for me to make, to attend a residency program.


I also moved across country to WI; I do not have any ties here & have never been here before I interviewed. I did get a loft apartment within 1 mile of the hospital in a great little town, with underground parking! :rolleyes:


This residency program is affiliated with the Medical School of WI and has 2 very large hospitals: The Childrens hospital is rated #3 in the US and is a Level 1 Trauma Center. At our disposal is online access of the Library with numerous textbooks, videos, Up-2-date, MD Consult. etc; we can access from home.


The residency PA's come in Mid June for 2 weeks of orientation; Specifics on Post Grad. PA orientation: we reviewed high yielding topics for surgery: Antibiotics in Surgery, Complications in Surgery, Blood products, IV fluids, TPN, Wound Healing, Chest Tubes, Surgical Lab Interpretation, Pre-op, Post Op, Billing, ABG's, Vents, DM, RF, Radiological Studies, etc. We were also required to take online exams on most topics at home. We are given 2 Long, White Coats, [-] the ceremony! Throughout the year we meet about 1 time / month to have specialized lectures: burns, etc. also with online exam.


Next, we had 2 days of ATLS with the PGY1's and became certified. Then we started Curriculum with the PGY1's. Curriculum is 4 days of lecture / reading / hands on labs / etc. with exams at the beginning and the end. We are also treated like the PGY1s except that they do have us distinguish ourselves, since were are already professionals with a license and are here to get an additional year of specialized training. We are paid equal to PGY1's. Curriculum meets about every other month throughout the year, for 4 days, covering different topics / labs.


After the orientation and curriculum week, we all broke into our assigned services. The PGY1's do 4 weeks [1 month] rotations, on each service, however we are doing mostly 6 weeks on each service. I think this is mostly do to the fact that the PGY1s go to other facilities / hospitals and we [Post-Grad PA's] do not.


I started my 1st rotation on Peds surgery & trauma with 4 med. students, 3 other PGY1's, a Fellow, a PGY4, 5 faculty PA's & 9 Surgeons.


A Day in the LIFE: We meet most mornings at 5:30a to sign out, then round, write notes then round with the attending and team. Then we do discharges, go to the OR for our assigned cases, answer nursing / pt questions. Then at 5:30p we sign out to the night Post Grad PA/ PGY1 then day people leave. This service is very busy and we do not have much down time. Also 1 Post Grad PA / PGY1, each week for 1 week during the day, carries the "consult / HOT" pager. This means that they are paged for all new consults from the ED - floor - outside hosp/direct admit. They return the call, then go to [for ex] the ED, see the patient, do a H&P, devise an "assessment & plan" contact the "senior" and verbally present the pt, 'senior' sees the pt and then a plan is finalized. May do a consent if surgery in needed, put in orders, admit pt. etc. Two days a week we come in at 5am because we have grand rounds, M&M and conference.


TRAUMA: We respond to Trauma calls to the ED: we are "doctor Right" during the trauma. I've been on 2 so far, a level 2 and Level 1. The level 1 was most similar to what I would say you can see on "Trauma Life in the ER" show on Discovery Health channel -- intense!


THE OR: My 2nd OR experience: 1st Assistant, 1st with this Surgeon: a simple enough procedure: I&D of Abscess. However after the positioning / draping / etc. The surgeon tells the scrub tech: "Scalpel to "me" "I was like "what"? did I hear that correctly? Yes, I did! :D I got to do the majority of the case! How sweet! Never did I anticipate that! The surgeons here are very willing, have patience and are interested in teaching. Nothing that I had experienced, as a PA student, in a surgical rotation! That alone has convinced me that I've made the correct decision; knowing I will continue to gain invaluable experiences over this next year. So very happy that I decided to do this! :cool:


CALL: So we take over night in house call. During the week we have 1 person assigned to overnight call, they start Sun 5:30am and leave Mon. 6am. Then work T-W-Th overnight. They carry the "HOT" pager & do all consults, answer all home calls, nursing calls etc. They are supported by a senior, in house. Weekend Call: is only different in the fact that person comes in 5:30a Fri, Sat or Sun gets sign out, rounds, and stays all day and overnight until the next 5:30am, then goes home: post call; always supported by a 'senior' in house.


Okay, reality check: :rolleyes: it is very hard, long hours: ~80+ / week with day to overnight shifts of 30 hours! We are held to the same hours & expectations of the PGY1's. However I don't think I would have gained this same experience from jumping into a surgical job right out of PA school!


Please feel free to PM me with any questions. I will also try to post as time allows. I hope those of you who are interested in a surgical residency program find this useful!


Good Luck! :cool:



PS. Not sure if you want make this a separate Sticky? for Surgical Residency?

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Hey All,


Just a quick note as I'm post call [28.75 hrs shift on a Friday night] in WI with the BIG STATE FAIR happening!

Luckily for me it rained all day & all night, thus I guess everyone stayed home! :rolleyes:

I got the most sleep on "in house call" EVER! 4 hours! YAHOO!

We got ZERO Traumas & only 1 consult to ED! The stars must have been in the correct order? I came home & slept 4 hours and am up catching up on stuff, ie. posting here! ;)


Well there's always next Sat. night when I'm on call overnight! Which will be the last night of the state fair! -- look for that!


Oh yeah, I got my DEA# this week, so I can write for Narcs! Quite interesting doing it the 1st few times; scary too that you don't want to make any mistakes. Added responsibility! and my fellow PGY1's do not have their DEA's yet; I think they get them when they turn into PGY2? Anyhow, it's nice that I don't have to try and track down a faculty PA to sign for me! But for now I still ask the faculty PA's to make sure that I'm doing it correctly; until I feel more comfortable.


In general: I'm very ready to move on to my next rotation; as this is my LAST week on Peds Surg / Trauma Service. Since PG PAs do 6 week rotations and the residents only do 4 week rotations, the end of July was tough since the residents I'd worked with all of July were moving on & I was staying put! That was a bit of a bummer, however, I was able to help out the new group of residents / med students, that started on 8/1. Now, I've become very comfortable with the process, etc of this service. My efficiency and speed has improved over the rotation; along with my presentation skills to Attendings during rounds.


I'm heading to Adult Plastics for my next rotation starting Monday 8/17; I'm very excited but I will be totally lost; as it is next door in the Adult Hospital of Froedtert. So finding stuff: OR's, Wings: North/South/East/West on the floors, the Cafe(s), the bathrooms, etc. will be a struggle for the 1st week or so. But I'm ready to move on!


PS. I got my 1st full months paycheck! :D :eek:

We get paid the same as the Interns [PGY1's] so not incredible amounts of cash but not bad compared to some!.....How sweet!

I almost spent it all in 1 day! I bought the new IPHONE! so cool! I love it! a few new medical reference books and 2 new pairs of work sneakers! of course the usual bills: rent, electric, cable, insurance! Budgeting over 1 month's time will be interesting? :confused: The best news is that I work so much I can't do too much shopping?.....however there is always "on-Line Shopping!.." :rolleyes:


Hope you are enjoying this!

Remember you can always PM me, I will answer, just might take a little bit!

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  • 3 months later...
  • 8 months later...

Well I left!

Got ZERO OR time just TONS & tons of Hours = 80 / week; with 1-3 30 hr/oncall shifts a week!

NOT what I hoped for!

Thus I left & got myself a great Ortho job!

NO: nights/weekends or CALL!!!


I suggest those interested in surgical residency go elsewhere!

Good Luck

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  • 1 month later...


Yes I totally think you can learn this on the job! I don't recommend this program! AT ALL!

The surgeon that hires you, is investing in you! They are willing & wanting to help you learn--there way!


Yes mikeSpa I left!

I had no desire to work my a$$ off 80/hrs a week with NO OR time! & treated like dirt!

My 1st rotation was Childrens hospital, I can't even tell you how many kiddos I saw in the ER; that had appendix & needed appy surgery; how many was I in on = ZERO!

I think in that 6 weeks I was in the OR 4 times: Port placement, Port removal, 1 choley & I was the 4th person scrub'd in! (not counting scrub tech)


In the month of Oct. I had 3 days off! & went 21 days in-between the 1st & 2nd day off.


I left 'cause I was not gaining any OR skills

& if I had stayed & got that piece of paper & went to a surgical job, they would expect I had some OR skills!


I have a great Ortho job now with OR time & NO: call/nights/weekends! :)

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