Surgery Favorites

I wasted no time. I jumped head first into rotations and tackled the specialty that most people are afraid of. Surgery. Four weeks later, I’ve learned so much and am so grateful for my time in the OR! I know I’m not a surgeon and probably will not become one but I feel so fulfilled because of my experiences. Keep reading to learn about a few of my favorite things during this rotation.

Early mornings
I love waking up early and starting my day while the rest of the world is still in bed. It’s honestly how I live my life. I wake up without an alarm at 5 AM and I love being around people at that time. This may not be a perk for others but if you’re like me then you’ll also enjoy waking up for surgery.

Granola for breakfast
Breakfast is important. You use so much energy while in the OR (without even thinking about it). I, however, didn’t always feel like eating a big egg and sausage breakfast. Granola saved me many days because it gave me the energy I needed without the sit down mean.


Not having to do my hair or pick an outfit for the day
I basically wore the same five outfits for the entire rotation because I knew that as soon as I got to the locker room I’d be changing into the scrubs. No one knew I was repeating clothes. Muahahahahahaha…

Haning out with the nurses
Don’t ever think that because you’re a “medical student” that you’re too cool to hang out with the nurses. I learned so much from those men and women in the OR and I honestly miss them.

Cleaning my nails every day
Scrubbing in allowed me to have a mini manicure (as I called it) every morning. No dirt under my fingernails!

The first time I closed on a surgery, I was shaking in my crocs but when I realized that I had gotten used to suturing, I was so excited. This was the part of surgery that I was most looking forward to. As a future pediatrician and a future mom…I figure I’ll be doing some sewing in my career. Like I said, I was incredibly nervous. My handiwork would be with this person forever but I had had a lot of practice and did fine. I’ll probably still get nervous for a little while as I move forward but I think that’s normal.

Warm socks.
When you’re scrubbing in, you won’t be able to have a long undershirt (even though it is sooooo cold in the OR) but SOMEthing warm might help take your mind off the arctic temperature.

Office hours
After surgery, on certain days, my preceptor would hold office hours and we would get to see patients and their families in a less sterile setting. I loved these days and the people that I met during my surgery rotation. Smiling and talking to people this month helped me remember why I went into medicine (because it’s so easy to forget while studying for boards). I also LOVE the office staff. I’m going to miss them too.

Tumor board
Every other Tuesday, the hospital holds a tumor board for doctors and students to come and discuss interesting cases. Well, I actually presented at the very first one we were invited to. Again, I was shaking in my crocs, having to talk in front of men and women who have many more years of experience than I,  but it went well and felt that I had reached a mini milestone in my career.

The entire OR experience
I watched EVERYTHING and EVERYONE! I wanted to know everyone’s job (without being annoying). I figured that I’d never again have an experience like this (especially if I do go into pediatrics).

The new way of studying 
I used a question bank to study. I answered all of the questions in the surgery section and wrote down explanations for all of the ones that I got wrong. When it came time to study for my COMAT, I went over those questions, Case Files for Surgery, and the Surgery section in the Master the Boards Ste 2 CK book! It is definitely not as intense as studying during the first and second years but you can also fall behind very quickly. So even though I love this new study environment, I had to stay on top of my schedule and work.

Surgery Tips:

  1. Don’t take someone’s bad day personally.
  2. Learn names and not just faces.
  3. Don’t overestimate the value of comfy shoes/control stockings.
  4. When you can sit, don’t stand.
  5. Read as much as you can. Your COMAT/Shelf comes up on you with the swiftness.
  6. (If you’re vertically challenged), when standing on a stool in surgery while assisting, make sure you step down to suture or cut sutures… the angles look very different from up high.
  7. If you get lightheaded (never happened to me), tell someone. Don’t be embarrassed and don’t just faint.
  8. Ask the preceptor for extra tools to practice suturing. (Kits are expensive) And practice on groceries. Chicken > Bananas > Tomatoes.
  9. Practice suturing. Practice suturing. Practice suturing.

Thanks for reading lovelies. I hope this was helpful in some way, shape, or form. Comment down below on some of the things that make your days at the hospital a little bit easier. Until next time…I’ve just started my Family Medicine rotation this week! XX!

2 responses to “Surgery Favorites”

  1. Amanda Robinson says:

    Loved reading this!

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