Core Surgical Clerkship

Introduction / Expectations / OR Scrub Attire / Special Request for LOA / Surgical Team


During this 8-week clinical surgical clerkship you will focus on the science and art of surgery. It will be a challenging and time consuming period in your clinical training, but one that can successfully prepare you for the practice of medicine in the years to come, regardless of your ultimate career goals. This clerkship demands interaction between the student, faculty and resident as well as an understanding of the responsibilities each must fulfill if the objective of excellence is to be met. This manual will help define the goals and objectives of the junior medical student core surgery clerkship, the responsibilities of the student, and the responsibilities of the Department of Surgery towards the attainment of this goal.

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Departmental Expectations

Medical students are expected to maintain a professional appearance in the clinical settings. Men are expected to wear shirts and ties and appropriate trousers, and women must maintain a modest and professional appearance. Scrubs can be worn outside of procedure areas, but must be covered by a clean white lab coat and must remain buttoned at all times. Medical students must wear a Loyola ID badge along with the Stritch student name tag on the vest pocket of their white lab coat.

While on the floors the student will maintain a concerned and professional demeanor while dealing with patients, family members, and other members of the health care team.

The Department of Surgery expects each student to be punctual for all scheduled meetings, conferences, operating room responsibilities, and rounds. Schedules will vary by service and institution. The student will be informed of his/her schedule on the first day of the clerkship.

Each student is expected to fulfill all call days to which he/she is assigned and to remain on the floor each day until he/she is dismissed. Each institution will construct its own call schedule; in no instance should night call exceed one in four nights. Students will be exempt from call and hospital duties on all applicable student holidays.

Student, Patient and Faculty Relationships:
Each student must see the patient as an individual and act with compassion, kindness and respect at all times. The patient's privacy and their dignity must be protected, not only in the physical sense, but in all matters pertaining to illness, treatment and prognosis. Any discussions regarding the patient's problem, whether with the patient or his family, must be done with the Senior Resident's or Attending's knowledge and permission.

Duty Hours:
The maximum student time at a clinical site is 80 hours per week. In house call should not be more frequent then every fourth day. Students are required to have one full day off per week. Students are required to leave by noon if they are rounding on a weekend day.

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OR Scrub Attire

Please note the following mandated by state regulation:

  1. Absolutely no jewelry is allowed in the operating room.
  2. When leaving the operating room area, your scrubs must be covered by a full length lab coat.
  3. No hats or shoe covers are to be worn outside the department.
  4. No scrubs may be worn to and from work.
  5. No scrubs are to be worn outside of the hospital. This includes the outpatient clinics, medical school, or Hines-VA Hospital.

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Special Request for Leave of Absence

On Surgery clerkship students are scheduled to work six days a week with one day off. Students rotating on the surgical clerkship have been given the privilege of functioning as members of the surgical team. With this privilege goes the responsibility to carry out assigned duties as determined by the Chief Resident and the Attending Service Chief. Arbitrary time off during this experience is not permitted. For academic purposes (student presenting original work at a meeting) or in "exceptional" family circumstances, requests must be made at the time rotation choices are submitted to the Office of Education and 30 days prior to commencement of the clerkship.  The procedure is as follows:

  1. Send a letter requesting the time interval with supporting documentation (meeting brochure if presenting or an invitation to event for an "exceptional" circumstance.)
  2. The Surgical Course Director will need to review and approve the time off. This discussion may take place with the Attending Service Chief.
  3. Time off exceeding three days requires approval through the Dean's office.
  4. If approved, the information will be forwarded to Dean Mendez and Dean Sonntag for the student's permanent file.
  5. You are allowed to miss one day; therefore, anything more than that must be made up. Work with your surgery team.

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The Surgical Team

  1. Each student will be assigned to one general surgical service and one specialty service or two general surgical services (depending what number received on surgery lottery).  His/her interaction  with each member of the hospital team will determine the quality and ease of learning while "on the floors." 
  2. The student, although recognized by faculty and housestaff as an integral  and  important member  of the surgical team, is perceived by the public somewhat differently.  Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that any exchange between patient and student, or student and family, be done with discretion and good sense.  If any difficulty should arise it should be brought to the immediate attention of the senior resident or the attending.
  3. The senior resident will be responsible for the assignment of duties on a day-to-day basis; these  include assignment of patient evaluations and various  floor duties. He/she will be responsible  for the teaching of fundamental  skills, fostering of an open dialogue between housestaff and students and assuring that the acquisition of knowledge is the foremost  consideration in having students on any clinical service. The student should seek advice from the senior resident regarding problems on the clinical service.

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