Educational Goals

The major educational goal of the General Surgery Residency Training Program in the Department of Surgery at the University of Louisville is to produce a board certified surgeon capable of independently practicing general surgery of highest quality. On completion of the program, the surgeon should have a general knowledge, clinical judgment, the basic technical skills and personality attributes to establish rapport with patients and their families for the practice of general surgery, and be assessed as competent in the six general areas as outlined under the core competencies. These attributes will be acquired over at least a five-year training period by acquiring new knowledge through clinical experiences, reading current literature and major textbooks, attending bedside rounds and conferences, and preparing reports for presentation and publication. Knowledge of the clinical course of patient disease will be acquired by managing surgical patients both as in- and outpatients, including management of the critically ill surgical patient. Most importantly, technical skill to perform operations and intra-operative decision-making will be acquired through observation and performance of a variety of surgical procedures within the realm of general surgery over the training period. The residents will record each operation performed or assisted, in an ongoing fashion, thereby preparing an operative log of case experience. This operative log will be entered directly onto the web-site provided by the RRC for Surgery. Each resident is responsible for his/her own resident data collection for the duration of his/her residency. The ability to convey the clinical course of given patients will be developed by case presentations during walk rounds and conferences. The ability to interact appropriately with referring physicians and consulting physicians will be acquired by periodic communication with such physicians throughout the training period.


During the PGY-1 year the resident will become familiar with the fundamentals of management and pre- and post-operative care of the general, pediatric, and transplant surgical patient. This goal will be achieved by performance of initial patient assessment including history and physical and interpretation of routine laboratory tests and imaging studies. Additionally, assistance with or performance of certain operations will be carried out. The PGY-1 resident will also acquire knowledge of post-operative patient care by daily assessment of in-hospital post-operative patients on the floor and, as needed, in the Intensive Care Unit. Further knowledge of post-operative care will be learned by attending clinics and management of the patient in an ambulatory setting. Technical skills including basic instrument techniques, suturing, and retracting shall also be learned during the PG-1 year. It is our goal that residents will act as surgeon for some basic cases with proper supervision.

During the PGY-2 year the resident will further enhance his/her skills of peri-operative and operative management by performing additional and more complex operations. These trainees have a primary role in the Intensive Care Unit at most of the major integrated and affiliated hospitals and should be facile with all invasive procedures relevant to ICU care. Skills in surgical specialty services not acquired in the PG-1 year will be done in this year. PGY-2 residents will be responsible for presentation of patients during walk rounds at the VAMC and University Hospital unless otherwise directed by the chief resident on the service.

During the PGY-3 year, initial patient assessment skills will be honed by seeing the majority of consultations on the Emergency Surgical Service at University Hospital, as well as the General Surgical Services at the VAMC. The PGY-3 resident will acquire a full range of technical skills regarding intestinal surgery, laparotomy for trauma, and major resuscitation of the trauma patient. The PGY-3 resident should have met all of the goals for the surgical specialties listed with the exception of the senior rotation in Pediatric Surgery.

The PGY-4 resident should acquire the knowledge, skill and personal attributes to be chief resident of the major private services at Norton, Norton Children’'s and Jewish Hospitals. The PGY-4 shall assign junior residents specific patients to follow in hospital, as well as specific patients to be attended to in the operating room. The PGY-4 resident will routinely communicate with the attending to discuss pre-operative and post-operative patient care and mutually participate in critical decision making. These residents should be able to perform most complicated operations by the end of this year.

The overall educational goal for the PGY-5 year is to prepare the chief resident to assume independent responsibility for total care of the surgical patient. This will be accomplished by assigning the chief resident primarily to the VA and University Hospitals throughout the PG-5 year, where he or she will be the team leader of the particular rotation. The chief residents will be responsible for supervising all in-hospital patient care and for supervising outpatient care in the clinics. The chief resident will be responsible for preparing the morbidity and mortality reports presented at the Quality Improvement Conference pertaining to their own patients, as well as determining the autopsy status on each death and the status of the transplanted organs from those patients; the latter will be done in conjunction with the transplant coordinator. The chief resident will become familiar with quality assurance issues by having a seat on the Quality Assurance Committee at University Hospital. The chief resident will develop clinical decision-making skills by interacting directly with the attending surgeon for critically ill patients and those undergoing operation. The chief resident will supervise and assist the junior residents in critical patient care, as well as in performing certain operations.