2018 Surgery Interns Welcomed With Improved Boot Camp Curriculum

June 22, 2018

The 2018 Intern Care package included a suturing kit and skin pad.

34 interns began their orientation to Stanford Surgery Residency this past Monday.

“It’s definitely a little intimidating to think about starting residency, and so I’m excited that we have intern boot camp to help get us oriented to the hospitals and some basic clinical problems we are likely to encounter,” said General Surgery Categorical Intern Dr. Charlotte Rajasingh.

This year’s intern boot camp is unlike any before it, with instructors employing a flipped- classroom model to accommodate all learning styles and expand instruction time.

“Historically, boot camps have lasted a week or four days but because interns have more and more competing interests—learning Epic, onboarding— the physical boot camp schedule has been compressed,” said Dr. Edmund Lee, a Stanford surgical education fellow and visionary behind the novel curriculum. “We asked ourselves: is there a better way?”

Stanford’s new remote, a-synchronous curriculum starts the intern preparatory process before the students even arrive on campus. Each incoming intern received a care package approximately four weeks before their official start date which included a plethora of items from a Stanford temporary tattoo to a suturing kit and skin pad.

“I would have rather I would have gotten it earlier!” said Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Intern Dr. Dave Cholok. “The suturing kit model was the best. We’re always looking for more realistic things to train with outside of going to the butcher.”

Vascular Surgery Intern Dr. Krishna Martinez-Singh agreed that the suture skin pad, created in house by the Goodman Surgical Education Center team, was his favorite item in the box.

“I live in a house with four other people and a lot of them are going into surgery. Stanford was the only one that sent something to practice,” said Martinez-Singh. “I think everyone wants to be as good as you can be on your first day.”

In addition to the physical parcel, residents were supplied with a playlist of YouTube videos created by Lee featuring Stanford faculty.

“Having been a medical student at Stanford, I’m a huge [Dr. John] Kugler fan!” said Rajasignh. “I thought the videos were great—simple, concise, and really highlighted what is relevant for taking care of surgical patients.”

Lee said his goal was to provide the incoming students with all of the instruction that didn’t require them to be present at Stanford.

“By the time they got here, the only thing we needed to do were technical skills they couldn’t do at home,” said Lee.

A majority of the on-campus boot camp scheduled was spent practicing arterial line, chest tube, and central line placement in addition to time management and burnout prevention skills and a scavenger hunt-style hospital tour.

“We also assessed their technical skills,” said Lee. “Not as a way to test the interns, but as a way for [the instructors] to give structured feedback and individualize each intern’s instruction going forward.”

Intern boot camps became popular within the past decade to ease the transition from medical school to the increased responsibilities of residencies.

“People ask: Isn’t the job of medical school to prepare you for residency?” said Lee. “But while many schools have created senior level preparatory courses or capstones, there’s no one-size fits all model because medical students are matched with a variety of specialties at medical centers across the country.”

Martinez-Singh, who attended a vascular-specific boot camp, agreed that institution-specific details were necessary for a comprehensive orientation.

“The Stanford Surgery Boot Camp has explained the logistics of working in a hospital in general the handoffs, the broad overview stuff you don’t get anywhere else,” said Martinez Singh. “They’ve been addressing things the I’ve been wondering about, and overall, it’s been a great experience.”

The new class of interns officially begins their duties this Saturday.