HomeResidency Surgery Curriculum

Surgery Residency Educational Experience

Residents learn how to become successful surgeons at Prisma Health through a combination of independent study, didactic lectures/conferences, hands-on practice and simulation, and of course, clinical experience. Just as our residents are not the same every year, our educational curriculum also undergoes changes each year to meet both individual and overall program needs. We feel that it is one of our strengths that we seriously listen to feedback from both residents and faculty to continually improve and create the best possible learning experience for all.

Regularly scheduled clinical conferences for the past academic year include:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Vascular conference   GI Tumor Board (monthly) Trauma M&M (monthly) SCORE lectures
    Breast Tumor Board VA Hospital Tumor Board Grand Rounds
Trauma conference   Morbidity and Mortality conference (M&M)   Trauma PI Review


Additional educational experiences that are planned for this upcoming academic year also include:

  • Cadaver labs for anatomy and surgical technique
  • Mock oral examinations
  • Weekly quizzes & reviews
  • Lectures regarding important but often ancillary topics such as coding / billing, leadership, teaching, etc.
  • Small group higher level discussion of SCORE curriculum content

As there is no substitute for experience, a strong emphasis is placed on maintaining excellent educational opportunities on all our clinical rotations. Below is an example of a typical yearly schedule.

General Surgery General Surgery General Surgery General Surgery General Surgery
Acute Care Surgery Acute Care Surgery Acute Care Surgery Acute Care Surgery Acute Care Surgery
Trauma Surgery Pediatric Surgery Pediatric Surgery Trauma Surgery Trauma Surgery
Plastic Surgery   Thoracic Surgery    
Surgical Oncology Surgical Oncology Surgical Oncology Surgical Oncology Surgical Oncology
Vascular Surgery Vascular Surgery Vascular Surgery Vascular Surgery  
VA Hospital VA Hospital VA Hospital VA Hospital VA Hospital
Night float Night float Night float Night float  
Gastroenterology Gastroenterology Bariatric Surgery    
Surgical ICU Surgical ICU Rural Surgery    
Urology   Transplant Surgery    

Transplant surgery**: Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC.

The residency rotation schedule is carefully planned each year and incorporates the feedback of both residents and faculty. There is a strong focus on basic surgical principles and technique in the early years, followed by the opportunity for greater responsibility and leadership roles in the final years of residency. A wide breadth of experiences early on, including plastic surgery, vascular surgery, gastroenterology, urology, and surgical ICU, creates a solid foundation of skill and knowledge. Residents also have the opportunity to see the practice of surgery in a variety of clinical settings, rotating with academic surgeons, busy private practice surgeons, at the Veterans Affairs Hospital, and even with local rural surgeons to determine the type of career that may be the best fit for them individually. Most importantly, the schedule is not regimented, so that depending on the individual interests and needs of each resident, there is flexibility to do more or less of certain rotations to complement and enhance the overall training experience.

Rotation Descriptions:
General Surgery- Richland
This is our primary academic/teaching service. Residents see patients in the elective clinic and operate on both elective and emergency general surgery cases in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. Residents also have the opportunity to perform robotic surgery alongside Dr. Fernando Navarro.

General Surgery – VA
Led by Dr. Philip Chaipis, Dorn VA Chief of General Surgery, this rotation exposes residents to bread and butter cases on medically complicated patients. Residents cover the ICU and General Surgery with a dedicated APP staff to assist. Residents also have exposure to thoracic and vascular surgery during their time at the VA.

Vascular Surgery
Vascular Surgery at Prisma Health-Richland Hospital allows residents the opportunity to get hands-on experience with cutting edge technology to perform a variety of open and endo-vascular procedures, such as thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) and carotid endarterectomies. This rotation is led by our internationally known and recognized chair of surgery, Dr. Daniel Clair. This rotation offers the opportunity to work one-on-one with attendings while managing a very busy service.

Plastic Surgery
The plastic surgery rotation allows residents to focus on complex wound closure, reconstruction, and surgical technique. Residents work alongside plastic surgery residents in a collegiate learning environment.

This experience largely takes place at the Dorn VA. Residents autonomously perform upper and lower endoscopies with gastroenterology attendings who are dedicated to teaching. Most residents complete all their ACGME-required endoscopies during this rotation.

This rotation allows in depth experience and hands on training with our busy division of Urology consisting of eight Urologists, many of whom also have additional advanced specialty fellowship training. Residents get exposure to not only the basic and common urological procedures and complaints, but also major resections of the kidney, prostate, and bladder.

Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit (STICU)
The STICU rotation involves rounding on the arguably the most surgically complex patients in the hospital. Dr. Christopher Watson and his team of trauma/ACS attendings teach residents to manage ventilators, perform independent bedside procedures (ie: bronchoscopy, tracheostomy, central lines). Richland is also home to a Surgical Critical Care fellowship that many of our own residents have chosen to complete either after their third or fifth year of General Surgery Residency.

This experience is offered at Prisma Health-Baptist hospital, a bariatric center of excellence. Residents hone their skills with complex laparoscopy, including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and duodenal switch procedures, performed both laparoscopically and robotically.

Surgical Oncology
Residents on this service get experience with a wide range of surgical oncology, including breast, GI malignancies, melanoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and complex hepatobiliary procedures including major liver resections and whipple procedures, including both open and minimally invasive procedures.

Rural Surgery
Residents will have the opportunity to work with seasoned general surgeons in a community-based hospital in Sumter, SC. This experience provides residents a unique look into rural practice and has been well-received by both residents and faculty alike.

Transplant Surgery
Medical University of South Carolina, the busiest renal transplant center on the East coast, houses residents from across the state for their transplant rotation. While at MUSC, residents can go on donor runs and assist in harvesting and transplant procedures.

Trauma Surgery
Residents get experience at a busy level I trauma center for both adult and pediatric patients. A two-fold experience, junior residents learn to manage patients on the trauma floor with the renowned Dr. Raymond Bynoe (after whom our STICU was named). As a trauma chief, you will have your finger on the pulse of trauma and learn to manage multiple teams, assign cases, and operate independently. See “Trauma, Critical Care, and Acute Care Surgery”

Acute Care Surgery
The Acute Care Surgery Service allows residents to learn independent decision making and operate on the sickest of the sick in their time of most need. While this is an opportunity to see a large volume of common general surgery emergencies such as appendicitis, cholecystitis, and diverticulitis, you never quite know what will come in the door that will need your expertise.

Night Float
This is the resident’s greatest opportunity to flex their decision-making muscles. Residents cover emergency consults, operative consults, and trauma activations while in-house at night. Although there is always an in-house attending available for advice and assistance, this rotation allows a significant amount of autonomy while independently managing the many problems that may arise each night in the hospital.