Becoming a Physician

Scholarship recipients share their experiences as UF medical students
7
Nov


Sutures and knots: The basics of surgery

By •• Posted in Uncategorized
Kristen Easey, PA-2 and I before we went into the OR.

Kristen Easey, PA-2 and I before we went into the OR.

Lauren Simmons

Before starting my surgery rotation I was very nervous because of the comments I heard from upperclassmen about their experiences. The most frequent complaints were rarely having time to eat a decent meal and that sleep came at a premium. Fortunately for me, my first specialty was the otolaryngology service, which has a good balance of surgery and clinic, so sleeping and eating were not an issue. In the operating room (OR) I quickly learned how invasive some ENT surgeries can be and how difficult it is to remove tumors where the anatomy is quite complex. Also during this time we had a bowel anastomosis and laparoscopic skills workshop.  Within a few minutes, I realized giving up video games after high school did not help my dexterity with the laparoscopic instruments, but I improved gradually over the course of the workshop.

After ENT, I ventured back to the VA medical center for my vascular rotation, which was a great learning experience for me. On day 1 my ability to assess and treat wounds skyrocketed because of the number of patients and variety of the injuries, and each morning during rounds, I changed several dressings. My comfort level with wound care is light years above where it was to begin the rotation. But the most exciting part of vascular surgery happened in the OR, where I saw AV fistula creation for future dialysis treatments, carotid and femoral endarterectomies and extensive bypass procedures for people with severe occlusive disease in their legs. The highlight surgery I was fortunate enough to take part in was an open repair of an 11cm abdominal aortic aneurysm. I was amazed that despite its massive size, the other abdominal contents seemed unaffected.

Top Row from left: Wallace Nozile, Edward Haupt, Stephen Suah, Christopher Monsour, Matthew Sorensen. Second row from top from left: Steve Noutong, Travus White, Victor Huang, Morgan McGuire. Middle row from left: Amy Sheer, Tushar Gupta, Brent King. Bottom row from left: James Stubbs, Del Benzenhafer, Claudia Phen, Lisandra Perez, me, Elaine Bromberek, Xiaoming Jia.

Top Row from left: Wallace Nozile, Edward Haupt, Stephen Suah, Christopher Monsour, Matthew Sorensen. Second row from top from left: Steve Noutong, Travus White, Victor Huang, Morgan McGuire. Middle row from left: Amy Sheer, Tushar Gupta, Brent King. Bottom row from left: James Stubbs, Del Benzenhafer, Claudia Phen, Lisandra Perez, me, Elaine Bromberek, Xiaoming Jia.

My final rotation on the general surgery service also took place at the VA, and I was able to take part in a variety of surgeries. The most common operations were laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair and gallbladder removal, but I also saw breast and colon cancer resections along with a few hemorrhoidectomies. I got to help close some incisions on my previous rotations, but I did the bulk of my suturing on this rotation. After my second laparoscopic gallbladder removal, the chief resident I was working with complimented me on my suturing skills and it made my day.

The hardest part of the surgery rotation was the four nights of trauma call. I was awake for 24-30 hours on each one, which was challenging because as I mentioned before, sleep is something I value. Fortunately for me, there was something to do most of the time, so the hours flew by; I think the worst part was trying to recover the next day. Overall I liked my surgery rotation, I had great attendings, and the residents I worked with were very supportive and great teachers both in the OR and in clinic.

 

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