Robotic Training

Residency education in general surgery at UAB comprises five clinical years. Eight categorical residents are accepted into the program annually through the National Residency Matching Program. Residents have the option to complete two years of research, free of clinical duties. All house officers receive extensive training in preoperative evaluation in the clinic and hospital settings, intraoperative technique, postoperative and critical care management, and follow-up care. Residents train at four hospitals located within the downtown medical center - UAB Hospital, Birmingham Veteran's Affairs Hospital, UAB Highlands and Children's of Alabama.

First Year

The first year categorical residents (PGY 1) rotate through four hospitals and share junior resident duties with first year residents from the other surgical disciplines. Duties include initial evaluation and treatment of patients, participating in rounds and conferences, attending clinics, operating on level-appropriate cases in the operating room, and acting as teachers and mentors to medical students on their surgical clerkships. The first year provides house officers with a very broad training in one-month rotations. First year residents are given much responsibility for the care of the ward patient. Upon completion of the first year, residents are very comfortable dealing with pre- and postoperative patient issues. The average resident will log 100 major cases during his/her first year. Surgical oncology, gastrointestinal surgery, pediatric surgery, and the Veteran's Affairs hospital offer junior residents the greatest breadth of operative exposure. The majority of call is in house during the first year. Vascular, colorectal, minimally invasive, and surgical oncology first year resident call is covered during the week by a night float resident. Pediatric surgery call is general every fourth night and the veteran's affairs hospital call is every third night (home call). Trauma call is in a teams system, with q3 team call with built in days off.

Second Year

During the second post-graduate year (PGY 2), residents gain an increasing amount of clinical independence and responsibility for the critically ill patient. Six to eight week rotations during the second year include breast oncology, acute care surgery, pediatric surgery, vascular surgery, and general surgery as well as rotations on the trauma/burns and surgical intensive care units. Second year residents gain increased exposure to laparoscopy and more complex cases. ICU rotations are covered by swing shifts, along residents to spend time caring for critically ill patients during the day and at night without taking 24 hour call. In-house call varies by rotation, with the majority of rotations covered by night floats where day residents will cover weekends. Two rotations are spent on night float rotations, covering the vascular services and transplant/GI surgery/Surgical Oncology.

Third Year

The third year (PGY 3) of training offers residents continued advanced operative autonomy as well as transitions them into leading a team. An elective is offered for third years, and there are also many independent rotations where residents are the sole resident on the service. Residents operate extensively on thoracic, colorectal, transplant, and vascular surgery, as well as at the veteran's affairs hospital. PGY 3 residents act as the senior resident on transplant surgery and thoracic surgery. The PGY 3 also take on significant responsibility as a team leader on one of the trauma teams, and as the acute care surgery night float. All rotations are seven or eight weeks in duration. Vascular, gastrointestinal, and transplant surgery call is covered by a night float resident during the week, making the on-service PGY 3 responsible on call every other weekend. Call at the veteran's affairs hospital is home call among the VA team.

Fourth Year

The fourth year of clinical training (PGY 4) continues the progressive assumption of greater responsibility, leadership, and decision making. An elective is offered for fourth-year residents, and they spend much of their time in the operating room, handling increasingly complex cases. The PGY 4 acts as the senior resident on the trauma, MIS, and Endocrine surgery services. Senior resident duties are shared with a PGY 5 resident on the surgical oncology and colorectal surgery services. Call generally is every second or third weekend; during the first part of the year it is in house to allow appropriate supervision of interns and then transitions to home call. All rotations are seven or eight weeks in duration. Flexibility is built into the schedule to allow residents to select rotations of interest to their future career.

Fifth Year

The chief resident year of general surgery training provides increasing responsibility and independence. Residents are expected to lead their service and are responsible for the instruction of junior residents and medical students. Chief residents rotate on the Acute Care Surgery, UAB Highlands General Surgery, Surgical Oncology, Colorectal, and VA general surgery services in 6-8 week blocks; the majority of call is home call. All residents finish with more than enough indexed cases required for graduation. Two fifth year residents are chosen each year to act as administrative chiefs, overseeing the residency program and working closely with the program director and chairman. In addition, a senior resident is also chosen to serve as Education Chief Resident and coordinate the education activities of the program.

Research

In addition to the five years of categorical general surgery training offered at UAB, residents are given the option to complete two years in the clinical or basic science laboratory. Typically this occurs between the second and third year of residency, but this can be adjusted on a case by case basis. Residents have no clinical duties and often moonlight during these years. Research projects are abundant and heavily funded. Some residents elect to earn a Masters of Public Health degree. Research residents work in the labs of dedicated research as well as clinical faculty. Most residents elect to complete their two years of research after the second clinical year. Research is completely optional.

Operative Experience

As of 2021, on average, our residents perform 1,108 procedures during their residency.

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To compare with a national average summary, visit the ACGME.

Moonlighting

The UAB General Surgery Residency program allows residents to take advantage of moonlighting opportunities. We comply with the ACGME requirements of moonlighting, which means residents' clinical and educational work hours must be limited to no more than 80 hours per week, averaged over a four-week period, inclusive of all inhouse clinical and educational activities, clinical work done from home, and all moonlighting. Additionally:

  • Moonlighting must not interfere with the ability of the resident to achieve the goals and objectives of the educational program, and must not interfere with the resident’s fitness for work nor compromise patient safety.
  • Time spent by residents in internal and external moonlighting (as defined in the ACGME Glossary of Terms) must be counted toward the 80-hour maximum weekly limit.
  • PGY1 and PGY2 residents are not permitted to moonlight.