Becoming a physician is more than just the acquisition of medical knowledge. It is about the development of a professional personality in dealing with patients, colleagues, and other medical staff.

Therefore, a significant portion of an individual student's assessment is based on overall professionalism. Not only will a student's interaction and relationships with patients be evaluated, but also their ability to work with their team and other health workers. Students are expected to go "above and beyond" for their patients, to treat all others with respect and courtesy, and to function as integral members of their team.

During their clerkships, students encounter tasks that may not seem to them to be of significant educational value. For example, students often wonder why it is necessary to remain with their patient until an operation is finished, or wonder why ancillary staff do not take care of the more menial tasks like drawing blood, patient escort, and changing dressings. While these may well be of minimal educational value in and of themselves, performing them demonstrates your dedication to patients. Demonstrating a sense of “no task is too small” is impressive to patients, colleagues and coworkers alike. Performing these tasks also lets students experience everything their patients go through, and clues many students in to "ins and outs" of the medical system that they might not otherwise appreciate (e.g. how to get patients to nursing homes, how a CT scan is performed, etc.) This attitude of patient dedication is valued highly within the Department of Surgery, and students exemplifying this quality distinguish themselves.

In addition, practicing medicine requires multiple individuals working efficiently together to complete a multitude of daily tasks. Being a team player is especially important for a surgical team, and performing these tasks makes students into better physicians. Activities such as getting charts or labs for rounds, contrast for CT, or procedures for patients that an individual is not covering may seem to lack educational value. But not only does learning to perform these tasks efficiently prepare students to be better house officers, participation in these activities develops a sense of teamwork. As students progress into their residencies and professional careers, they come to appreciate how essential teamwork is in managing medical practices.

In Surgery, perhaps more than in other specialties, we feel that this sense of team, professionalism, and dedication to patients is key in the development of a good physician. Therefore the assessment of your overall professionalism will be a key component of the evaluation. Please review the Sample Surgical Process Note (Word Document).