General Surgery Residency Curriculum

The residency in general surgery at SIU is a comprehensive, five-year educational program that encompasses all of the major surgical disciplines. Its goal is to prepare the graduate for the practice of general surgery, or fellowship training in one of the surgical subspecialties. The program seeks to provide a strong foundation in the clinical discipline of surgery in the setting of educational excellence and scholarship. The program has a nationally recognized heritage of outstanding achievement and leadership in these regards, under the founding guidance of Dr. Roland Folse.

The training program includes an emphasis on skills development with the assistance of an internationally recognized skills laboratory and curriculum. Current residents develop core skills to predefined levels of proficiency in the laboratory setting, progressing thereafter in the use of those skills in direct patient care. Residents perform a high volume of surgical procedures, including a broad spectrum of complex cases, under the tutelage of both full-time academic and private practice faculty. Excellent experience in trauma/critical care, transplant surgery, pediatric surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, head and neck surgery, colorectal surgery, oncologic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, surgical endoscopy and all other core general surgical disciplines is achieved over the course of the program. Research is encouraged, and educational scholarship, in particular, is an area of significant academic strength.

Nurse holding surgical tools

Residents participate in Residents As TeacherS (RATS) programs as well as a number of novel evaluative experiences designed to optimize their development in all core competency areas. Regular conference schedules include visiting professor programs with nationally prominent faculty, grand rounds, core topical conferences, a weekly morning report/attending rounds conference, and a text review conference. Regular subspecialty and multidisciplinary conferences, as well as journal clubs, mock oral exam programs, and annual research days, are also held.

In addition to these clinical and educational strengths, the residency program has earned a reputation for collegiality and support. Faculty advisor/mentors are appointed for each resident, relationships between residents and faculty are highly valued, and the support environment amongst the residents themselves is frequently recognized as a strength by interviewees during recruitment season. In all these endeavors and relationships, the consistent goal is to provide high-quality education and patient care in a collegial, supportive, and educationally dynamic learning environment that can prepare the trainee for the task of lifelong learning, and for a variety of potential career goals.

The majority of training takes place on the main teaching campus, which is constituted by two teaching hospitals within a few blocks of each other: Springfield Memorial Hospital and HSHS St. John’s Hospital. These hospitals serve as tertiary facilities for a broad geographic area in Central and Southern Illinois and provide a very solid and self-contained forum for the development of patient care and surgical skills. The hospitals are strongly supportive of the training program and contribute greatly to the program’s educational quality both through the physical environment and through fiscal support. A regional burn center at Memorial Health, a dedicated pediatric hospital as part of the HSHS St. John’s complex, and a Level I trauma program all serve as examples of the resources provided as a foundation for resident education. 

Third and fourth-year residents will have a rural surgery rotation in Carbondale, IL. This rotation provides a procedurally-rich opportunity for residents to gain experience in a broad practice of general surgery, working out of Springfield Memorial Hospital, Herrin Hospital, and St. Joseph's Hospital in the Carbondale area.

Additional residency training programs in most disciplines, including surgical subspecialties such as neurosurgery, orthopedics, plastic surgery, urology, and vascular surgery as well as fellowship level programs in colorectal surgery, attest to the educational foundation present.