Didactics Overview

Every Thursday, the residents attend a dynamic didactic conference that brings together attending surgeons, current and former faculty, and medical students to a morning of educational discussions and sessions. The day starts at 7am with two Morbidity and Mortality presentations. These are given by senior residents who were assigned in advance by the chief residents to discuss important patient care issues that had been experienced by the surgical team. The residents work closely with the appropriate attending surgeons to prepare an informative case report presentation about a particular patient and then to highlight relevant learning points in a comprehensive discussion.

After the Morbidity and Mortality session, the next hour is dedicated to Grand Rounds Presentations with the 4th Thursday of the month reserved for research presentations. The Grand Round presenters include visiting Surgeons, Sparrow and MSU attending surgeons, as well as senior residents. The topics cover a broad range from scientific advancements to socioeconomic issues in surgery. The presentations finish with a group discussion on the given topic and the entire audience present is encouraged to participate.   On the 4th Thursday the residents to give individual updates on their research projects and hear feedback, suggestions and support from their fellow residents as well as attending surgeons who are experienced in research. 

Starting at 9am, the residents then participate in a two hour didactic session. There is a complete didactic calendar provided to the residents in the beginning of the year based on the SCORE Curriculum and supplemented by Sabiston’s Textbook of Surgery which all of the residents have free access to. Each week is dedicated to a specific surgical topic and the residents are given reading assignments, practice questions, and quiz questions every week. The residents are encouraged to learn together about this topic and to help enrich each other’s learning throughout the week in preparation for the didactic session on Thursday. When the session starts, the residents are prepared to have a robust discussion about the topic. One resident per week is assigned to prepare a Power Point presentation and lead a group discussion on the given didactic theme. Attending surgeons are also invited to participate in these sessions and encouraged to contribute to the learning. 

At the end of these sessions, there is a short mock oral examination in which one of the fourth or fifth year residents are chosen at random to do a practice oral examination in front of the group. This helps with their own oral exam skills and also encourages all of the residents at all levels to practice eloquent and accurate verbal discussion of treatment plans and surgical procedures.

Additionally, simulation labs occur Thursday morning.  These are facilitated and moderated by one of the attendings.  These labs take place in the simulation center or on the MSU campus.  These experiences serve to help the residents learn about and perfecting a particular surgical skill in an environment that provides them one-on-one assistance from the attending.  These labs are usually feared to specific PGY year level.

Finally, meetings with Program Director and Associate Program Director occur during the latter part of the morning.  These periodic meetings may involve all the residents, only the senior residents (PGY 3-5), or only the junior residents (PGY 1-2).   At these gatherings, major news, updates, and issues involving the residency program are discussed in a group setting.  Moreover, mentoring often occurs in these settings.  Residents are encouraged to be open and outspoken about ideas, concerns and opinions that would improve the program or issues that are impacting them individually.