The educational mission of the Phoenix Integrated Surgical Residency is to provide house officers with a sound, scientific understanding of the discipline of surgery so as to be able to practice the art of our field in a competent and professional manner. To meet that goal, a cadre of active, practicing volunteer faculty surgeons has been assembled to guide you along the way. As such, by the time you complete your training, you will have come away with a clear vision as to the role a general surgeon must play in the practice of medicine well into the new millennium. In this very regard, we believe it is imperative that our trainees receive their education in an environment that exposes them to both hospital-based (e.g. employed) and private practice surgeons (urban, suburban and rural). For only by providing a close look at the diversity of practice opportunities will our graduates be prepared to select the environment that best suits their needs.

As you advance through this training program, you will find your level of responsibility will increase in direct proportion to your level of competence as perceived by the Program Director and volunteer faculty. We expect that from the outset of your training you will focus upon mastering the concepts needed for effective perioperative management of your patients. Among the specific goals of this process is the ability to develop a sense of “trajectory” in your practice. That is to say, you will learn that recovery from a given illness or operative procedure can be patterned along a fairly unique time curve, along which certain clinical events should occur with regularity as the patient recuperates. Hence, deviation from an expected trajectory pattern should be considered an ominous sign that an untoward event lies ahead for the patient unless measures are taken to bring the patient back to the proper trajectory. You will therefore be asked to hone your clinical skills and to obtain assistance from ancillary tests only when you believe that the results of these examinations will appreciably alter the manner in which you are managing your patient. As you move into the more senior years of residency, you will be increasingly exposed to the processes of:

  1. Making decisions relative to the indications and timing of a given operative procedure
  2. Planning the conduct of an operation
  3. Intraoperative decision making. As senior level residents, you are expected to take charge of the patients on your service, to learn proper delegation of responsibility to the junior residents and, of perhaps most import, to pass down your knowledge to your patients and to your junior staff.

Finally, throughout your tenure within our training program, you will be accorded ample operating room privileges in direct concert with the technical skills you bring to the table and your understanding of the proper conduct of a given procedure.

By now, it should have become apparent by the aforementioned that successful transition through this training program mandates that one ascribe to a team approach in fulfilling the duties of clinical service, patient care and education. As such, our house officers will develop a close relationship with his or her attending faculty, that the more senior level residents will aid their junior trainees in acquiring and enhancing their skills, and that work assignments will be distributed among house officers in a more horizontal (e.g. across the residency) rather than vertical (e.g. upper level resident to lower level resident) fashion. For it is this precise type of organizational structure that enables residents to manage their inpatient responsibilities and attend appropriate outpatient clinics as well as educational conferences within established work hour guidelines.

As you gain familiarity with this patient management system, it is hoped that you will share our belief that continuity of patient care is, from both educational and practical viewpoints, crucial to the success of our discipline. We feel conscientious patient care is best learned from a “hands-on” approach, guided by a self-imposed plan of directed reading on your patients’ illnesses, strengthened by a regular pattern of staff service teaching rounds, and unified by a series of interactive conferences designed to give the resident staff a complete overview of the relevant clinical and scientific literature over a repeating three year cycle. We remain confident that, if you take full advantage of this opportunity, you will leave our program well-equipped to progress to the next level of your career, be it the practice of general surgery or participation in one of the surgical sub-specialties.