Clinical and Operative Experience

The residents at Virginia Mason develop surgical expertise and gain an impressive clinical and operative experience during their five years. Our services have been designed to be smaller so the entire team can function cohesively. We thoughtfully balanced the inpatient load with the outpatient clinic and the operating room experience. In fact, six services within General and Thoracic Surgery are under the direction of only one attending surgeon (apprenticeship type). On these specific services, residents in the R-1 through the R-5 years have the opportunity to work closely with a single attending rather than with a group of surgeons for the rotation. The senior and junior residents are assigned to one staff surgeon and work with that surgeon in the operating room, on hospital rounds, and in the clinic. Since the services have a comparatively low daily census, the junior residents can and do scrub on every case on the service. As a result, teaching opportunities occur throughout the day. This also allows for more cases to be performed by junior level residents. In addition, virtually all patients are seen by residents in the clinic. This provides excellent continuity of care. Most services have three operating days per week and two clinic days per week. An average of 40-50 operations per month are performed on each service. Our small teams and select apprenticeship experience are one of the unique aspects of our residency training at Virginia Mason.