SURG 7550

Essentials of Surgery Clerkship


Yvonne Christensen
Course Coordinator

Curriculum Focus
Clinical Level
MS Year
Terms Offered



Catalog Description: Required 4- week clinical Clerkship. Designed to provide the learner with a multidisciplinary experience in approaching surgical disease and surgical decision making.

Canvas Site


View site addresses by clicking on the site name below or visiting the site codes table.

Site Code

Site Name



Duluth/Duluth area site will be assigned after drop/add deadline

Options in Duluth are St. Mary's Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital


Hennepin County Medical Center



UMMC - East Bank



Children's Minnesota - Minneapolis Hospital



Methodist Hospital



North Memorial Health Hospital



Regions Hospital



VA Medical Center


Required session attendance: Simulation sessions- 1st week, 2nd week

Typical weekly schedule/Delivery Mode: Varies by site/services; mix of clinic and OR opportunities

Direct patient care: Yes

Consent Requirement: Open to student scheduling

Course Objectives: This course provides the medical students an opportunity to learn various responsibilities of a PGY-1 Surgery resident. At the completion of the rotation it is expected that the student will have achieved competence in the following subject areas:

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

  • Identify patient with acute gastrointestinal bleed
  • List common causes of GI bleeds
  • Justify selection of standard diagnostic and therapeutic studies
  • Describe signs and symptoms of hemodynamic instability
  • Describe various operations and treatment strategies used to control GI bleeds
  • Describe what blood products to transfuse and when
  • Write orders for GI consult
  • Order endoscopies, labs, radiographic imaging
  • Interpret results from the above workup
  • Bowel Obstruction
  • Identify patients with complete and partial bowel obstructions
  • List common causes of bowel obstruction
  • Understand usual diagnostic labs and studies
  • Describe management and treatment options to deal with bowel obstruction
  • Evaluate patient with suspected bowel obstruction
  • Complete a thorough abdominal and rectal exam
  • Order labs, radiographic studies and management regime
  • Interpret evaluation results and physical findings
  • Demonstrate proper insertion of Nasogastric tube (NGT) (must be performed with Resident)

Post-Op Management, Complications

  • List common post-operative management points
  • Justify selection of post-operative labs, diagnostic studies and radiographic studies
  • Describe possible post-operative complications and their signs and symptoms
  • Specifically describe evaluation of low urine-output, hypoxia and confusion in the post-operative patient
  • Describe common doses, uses and modalities of narcotic and non-narcotic pain management
  • Write standard post-operative orders including labs, diagnostic tests, radiographic tests and nursing orders
  • Write appropriate "call House Officer for…" parameters
  • Write and discuss appropriate "prn" orders
  • Write for pain management medication (must be performed with Resident)
  • Order and interpret appropriate labs, radiographic imaging, studies for evaluation of low urine output, hypoxia and confusion in post-operative patients

Colorectal Cancer

  • Identify risks of colorectal cancer
  • Justify standard diagnostic evaluations
  • Describe signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer
  • Describe various operations and treatment strategies for colorectal cancer
  • Perform digital rectal exam
  • Order laboratory and radiographic studies appropriate to your patient
  • Observe colonoscopy, proctoscopy and sigmoidoscopy

Acute Abdominal Pain

  • Identify patient with acute abdominal pain
  • List common causes of abdominal pain
  • Differentiate potentially life threatening abdominal pain from other types of abdominal pain
  • Describe standard evaluation labs and studies for acute abdominal pain based on presumed diagnosis
  • Recognize a 'surgical abdomen' based on presentation, history and physical exam
  • Describe appropriate algorithm for abdominal pain evaluation and work-up
  • Perform thorough abdominal exam including rectal exam
  • Verbalize differential diagnosis
  • Order appropriate laboratory and radiographic studies
  • Interpret study results
  • Verbalize rationale for narrowing differential diagnoses
  • Perform serial abdominal exams including documentation of exam findings (must be performed with Resident)

Pancreatobiliary Disease

  • Identify patient with pancreas, liver and biliary disease
  • List common types of biliary, hepatic and pancreatic disorders
  • Describe signs and symptoms of biliary, hepatic and pancreatic dysfunction
  • Justify selection of standard diagnostic and therapeutic studies
  • Describe various operative and treatment strategies to deal with diseases of the biliary system, liver and pancreas
  • Perform thorough abdominal exam and verbalize pertinent findings
  • Order appropriate labs, radiographic and invasive studies
  • Verbalize interpretation of study results
  • Observe ERCP and evaluate cholangiogram results


  • Identify patient with hernia (e.g., inguinal, umbilical, incisional, ventral, hiatal)
  • List common causes and types of hernia
  • Describe signs, symptoms and complications of hernias
  • Describe both surgical and non-surgical treatment modalities for hernias
  • Perform physical exam for hernia based on location.
  • Order appropriate studies and pre-operative evaluation for hernia diagnosis and repair
  • Evaluate post-operative hernia patient
  • Observe or perform reduction of hernia (must be performed with Resident)

Breast Disease

  • Identify patient with breast disease
  • List common causes of breast pain, discharge, abnormal mammography and mass
  • Describe signs, symptoms and risk factors for breast disease
  • Justify selection of standard diagnostic studies
  • Describe various operative and treatment strategies for different breast diseases including sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Perform thorough breast exam
  • Order appropriate labs and radiographic studies
  • Verbalize interpretation of results
  • Order appropriate drain and wound care for inpatients and for discharge
  • Observe breast biopsy or operation including sentinel lymph node biopsy

Trauma, Burns & Shock

  • Identify patient with burns that require medical attention
  • Identify patient with signs and symptoms of shock
  • List common causes of shock
  • Describe various types and pathophysiology of burns and shock
  • Justify common laboratory and radiographic studies for burn or shock evaluation
  • Describe standard operations and treatments for various types of burn
  • Describe various operations and treatment for various types of shock
  • Perform estimation of burned body surface area
  • Calculate burn resuscitation requirements
  • Order appropriate labs, radiographic and invasive studies
  • Interpret appropriate laboratory and diagnostic studies
  • Perform fluid resuscitation of burn patient or patient in shock (must be performed with a Resident)
  • Interpret pulmonary artery catheter data
  • Observe or perform central venous catheter placement

Fluid / Electrolytes / Nutrition

  • Identify patient with fluid, electrolyte or nutritional abnormality
  • Describe common causes of fluid, electrolyte or nutritional imbalances
  • Describe various treatments for fluid, electrolyte or nutritional problems
  • Order appropriate laboratory evaluations for fluid, electrolyte or nutritional abnormality
  • Interpret laboratory findings
  • Order fluid, electrolyte and nutritional replacements specific to patient
  • Interpret follow-up laboratory findings after intervention

Endocrine Diseases

  • Identify patient with endocrine disease
  • Describe common causes and types of endocrine disorder
  • Justify standard diagnostic, laboratory and radiographic studies to work-up endocrine problem
  • Understand complications associated with endocrine diseases with operative therapy
  • Describe life-saving therapies
  • Describe other operative and treatments available for endocrine disease
  • Order appropriate laboratory and radiographic studies
  • Interpret results from above studies
  • Evaluate post-operative thyroid or parathyroid patient for complications (must be performed with Resident)
  • Verbalize treatment for post-operative complications of neck surgery
  • Verbalize treatment for post-operative complications of endocrine organ surgical manipulation

Vascular Disease

  • Recognize signs and symptoms of atherosclerotic disease (carotid, aortic, and peripheral vascular) and aneurysmal disease.
  • Differentiate between underlying vascular disease and other etiologies with similar presentations
  • Describe standard evaluation steps and studies (including specific physical exam maneuvers)
  • Describe various operations and treatment strategies used to treat patients with vascular disease
  • Order appropriate labs and diagnostic studies
  • Interpret results from above studies
  • Demonstrate ABI (Ankle Brachial Index) exam

Pediatric Surgery

  • Identify child with surgical issue
  • Justify labs and studies based on surgical problem
  • Identify difference between gastroschisis and omphalacele
  • List signs and symptoms of emergency surgical conditions
  • Perform thorough abdominal exam on a child
  • Observe repair of one congenital anomaly
  • Observe an inguinal hernia repair

Graded Components: OSATS exam, EPA, GRS evaluation

Grading Scale: P/N


Allow repetition of course: Repetition not allowed

Limited to Student Type: No

Course equivalency: SURG 7500, INMD 7120 (REACH), INMD 7229 (RPAP), INMD 7236 (MetroPAP), INMD 7324 (VALUE), INMD 7361 (HeLIX), INMD 7424 (EPAC), INMD 7711 (FLIIC)

Related curricular experience:

Secure Exam:

Course evaluation: MedHub