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General Surgery Residency

Resident Rotation Overview


Clinical experiences at the five-year University of Colorado Residency Program in General Surgery cover the full range of surgical services, provide exposure to a wide variety of surgical subspecialties, and allow for residents to participate in upper and lower endoscopy, critical care, Level I Trauma care, burn and transplant care. The sites within the residency program allow for exposure to diverse patient populations within the academic health center, a Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, a busy Metro Denver Level I Trauma Center at Denver Health Medical Center, and Rose Medical Center, a community hospital, as well as a premiere Children’s Hospital, which resides on the same campus as the academic health center.

Daine Bennett, PGY-4, meets with the clinical team

Our surgical residents are challenged to be compassionate, technically competent surgeons and are given opportunities in the arenas of patient care, teaching and research. Many (60%) categorical residents spend two years in the research laboratory. We also provide a fourth-year elective, which many residents have chosen to spend overseas or regionally at a center of excellence in their chosen field. There are 10 categorical positions and 21 preliminary positions offered at the PGY-1 level each year.

Amy Reppert, MD, Surgical Chief Resident, Training and Teaching on the FLS simulator

The objectives of the surgical internship are to achieve a wide experience in the broad field of surgery, including preoperative evaluation and post operative care of all classes of surgical patients and to begin the development of technical surgical skills. The essentials of preoperative and postoperative care include the recognition and treatment of surgical complications, fluid and electrolyte balance, wound care, and nutritional support. The intern rotates through 1 month of pediatric surgery, 1 month of oncologic surgery, 2 months of VA hospital general surgery, 2 months of critical care/Cardiothoracic Surgery, 1 month of university hospital night float,  1 month of trauma, and one month of plastic/reconstructive surgery, hepatobiliary surgery, acute care surgery and community hospital general surgery. The intern does supervised surgical procedures, gains expertise in vascular access, and other invasive procedures; e.g., tube thoracostomy, FAST examinations, etc. The intern does admission work-ups, writes pre and postoperative orders, progress notes and hospital discharge summaries. The schedule for the interns and junior residents is templated to facilitate compliance with duty hours requirements and also provide maximal educational exposure using several float services.

See a sample schedule.   

Second Year

During the second year of training the emphasis is primarily on perfecting motor skills and the management of more seriously ill patients. There are rotations on surgical intensive care, burn, trauma, general, vascular, cardiothoracic critical care, and transplant surgery, with exposure to a wide variety of seriously ill patients. The resident learns the ability to coordinate the daily work of busy services, evaluating surgical consultations, and assessing priorities in patient care. During intensive care rotations, the resident learns invasive monitoring, ventilator management and the critical care management of patients from all surgical disciplines as well as performing all invasive procedures such as central line placement, tube thoracostomy, bronchoscopy, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and tracheostomy. At the end of this year the resident should be able to provide non-operative care to all classes of surgical patients regardless of the magnitude of illness or injury.

Third Year

In the third year, the resident is frequently the second most senior resident on services at the University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center, VA Hospital, and Children's Hospital. At these institutions the resident is exposed to a wide variety of elective and emergent surgical cases in general surgery, pediatric surgery vascular surgery, transplantation, oncology, trauma, and endoscopy. Residents will also do a five-week rotation on breast as the primary resident. In addition, the resident is usually the consult person for these rotations. Gaining technical competence and breadth is a major objective of this year.

Fourth Year

The goals for the fourth year of surgical training are to refine the resident’s capabilities in independent surgical decision making, advanced surgical technique, and leadership. To accomplish this, residents rotate on services where they are usually the senior most resident on the service. Rotations include: Pediatric surgery at The Children’s Hospital; Trauma/general surgery at Denver Health Medical Center; General surgery, Acute Care Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, MIS/Foregut Surgery and Vascular Surgery at University of Colorado Hospital, Vascular Surgery at Denver Health, Thoracic and Vascular surgery at VAMC.

Chief Year

The goals for the chief year of training are for the resident to become competent in independent surgical decision-making and advanced surgical technique. To accomplish this, each resident is placed in a leadership position on general surgical services at University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center, Rose Medical Center, and the Veteran’s Administration Hospital. Chief residents are given leadership responsibility for a surgical service and coordinate and supervise all clinical and educational activities on the service. The rotations include trauma, surgical oncology, endocrine, hepatobiliary/bariatric, colorectal, and general surgery. Since UC Denver has minimal fellows—this year is an opportunity to improve skills with primarily fellowship trained surgeons focusing on the above areas with the chief resident as the focus of each rotation. Total case experience and breakdown can be found on our Website case volume page 2015.pdf Page.To view a list of rotations for a typical experience at the University of Colorado Denver Residency in General Surgery see our Rotation Detail Page.

Transplant technical skills training for the Transplant team with 

Dr. Kennealey in the Sim lab.