Policies and Procedures

Faculty Responsibility

The University and the departmental faculty are responsible for providing appropriate volume and complexity of clinical opportunities. They are responsible for the evaluation of house officer performance, with appropriate feedback to the House Officer. They will assist in the development of positive relationships toward patients, medical students, peers, ancillary medical personnel, and teachers. Faculty members are responsible for serving as positive role models for the House Officers. In their supervisory capacity they create an environment of graduated responsibility for the residents, while providing excellent patient care, honoring specific contracts with financial providers, and implied contracts for care with patients.

In-Training Exam (ABSITE)

An essential tool for any surgical specialist is the basic knowledge of the field including both basic and clinical science. A standardized method of evaluating this basic fund of knowledge is the American Board of Surgery In-training Exam. This exam is administered the last Saturday in January each year.  Residents are expected to perform at least above the 35th percentile on this exam. If the resident does not meet this requirement but is performing well in the clinical arena and has otherwise demonstrated a high degree of commitment, he/she will attend mandatory review sessions called the ABSITE Club for the subsequent year. We have our interns participate in the ABSITE Club to help prepare them for the exam.  For ABSITE performance under the 35th percentile, we may also assign a tutor from our surgical faculty who will set up a study program for the resident. If on the subsequent exam the resident again fails to achieve a score above the 35th percentile, the Department Residency Review Committee may recommend additional remedial actions. Overall clinical performance is taken into consideration when taking action. 

Academic Productivity

The ability to be able to understand the methodology and preparation of a scientific paper is important if the resident is to be able to critically review the surgical literature. To this end, each categorical resident is expected to prepare at least one scientific paper suitable for publication during his/her residency. Prior to the beginning of the third year of categorical surgical training, the resident will prepare a research proposal; this may be in the nature of original work or a clinical review and submit it to the Program director. It is expected that the abstract and manuscript will be completed before advancement to the final year of surgical training.

Professional Meetings

Residents in good standing will be funded to attend a professional meeting in their final year of training. Attendance at other meetings will be funded if the resident is making a presentation. The Travel Section details procedures to follow for Department Travel.


All residents are required to maintain their ACLS provider verification. ACLS is offered several times each year by the Center for Continuing Education. It is the responsibility of the resident to schedule the initial ACLS program with the Continuing Education Offices as well as any updating courses, which is every two (2) years. Renewal of ACLS should occur within three months of the expiration date on the ACLS card. Renewal can be accomplished in a half-day session. Failure to renew within this time frame results in the individual taking the entire two-day course. The department will pay for the initial course. At the time of re-verification, the Department of Surgery will pay the re-verification course fee only (if you miss the deadline and the entire course must be repeated, you will have to handle the cost yourself).


ATLS is conducted for first year house officers annually, usually in late August. The Resident Coordinator will notify you of dates, etc. Re-verification of the ATLS provider status must be done every four (4) years. It is the responsibility of the resident to re-verify within three months of the expiration date on the ATLS card. Failure to re-verify by taking the 4-hour class will result in the entire ATLS course being repeated. At the time of re-verification, the Department of Surgery will pay the re-verification course fee only (if you miss the deadline and the entire course must be repeated, you will have to handle the cost yourself). Re-verification can be done the second day of any 2-day provider class offered by the Department of Surgery.

Operative Log

Operative experience must be tracked on a continuous basis for all house officers in the program. This information is necessary for following the trainee’s progress, meeting the RRC requirements, and allowing the individual to qualify for the American Board of Surgery application. The program utilizes the ACGME’s online Resident Case Log system to report accumulated resident case information. All case information must be entered on a monthly basis starting with Monday and ending with Sunday.

Each applicant must submit a tabulation of the operative procedures performed as a Chief Resident, Junior Resident, First Assistant or Teaching Assistant. Credit may be claimed as "Surgeon" when the resident has actively participated in the patient's care; has made or confirmed the diagnosis; participated in selection of the appropriate operative procedure; has either performed or been responsibly involved in performing the critical portions of the operative procedure; and has been a responsible participant in both pre- and post-operative care. Only residents in their final two years of training enter data as a senior resident. If you are in a junior year (HO I – HO IV), you are to indicate that you were the junior resident on the case. When previous personal operative experience justifies a teaching role, residents may act as teaching assistants and list such cases for the fourth and fifth year only. You may claim credit as a teaching assistant when you have actually been present and scrubbed and acted as an assistant to guide a more junior trainee through the procedure. All this must be accomplished under the supervision of the responsible member of the senior staff. An individual cannot claim credit as both responsible surgeon and teaching assistant.

The number of patients with multiple organ traumas for whom an operation was not required and the number of patients with critical surgical problems for whom they had primary responsibility must also be listed. Applicants for American Board of Surgery certification examination must meet the guidelines recommended by the Residency Review Committee, i.e. Residents must have 250 cases as Operating Surgeon or First Assistant by beginning of third year. A minimum of 850 procedures in five years and a minimum of 200 procedures in the Chief Year. This must include operative experience in each of the areas of primary responsibility.