Program Overview

The General Surgery Residency Program at the University of British Columbia is a 5 year training program beginning at the PGY1 level.  It is designed to provide outstanding residents with the broad, comprehensive education required to attain excellence in the practice of general surgery, and to open up opportunities for innovative thinking and leadership in the advancement of our specialty.

The first two years of the program fulfill the requirements of Core Surgery as outlined by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  This is a broad-based 24 month experience comprising general surgery, surgical subspecialties (pediatric, vascular, thoracic), anaesthesia, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, critical care and psychiatry.  By the end of these two years the resident will be eligible for the Principles of Surgery Examination. After the intense core training experience has built a solid clinical foundation, the senior years (R3-5) are dedicated to a comprehensive exposure to increasingly complex clinical and technical surgery in hospitals around Metropolitan Vancouver and across the province.

Our educational curriculum is based around the program’s Academic Half Day (AHD). Throughout their training, residents attend an AHD with delivered reading assignments, dynamic formats and a strong emphasis on concurrent development of knowledge and technical skills.

There are division-wide educational activities as well; including weekly city-wide rounds, trauma conferences, and M&M Rounds, academic half days supervised by surgical faculty and journal clubs.  Each service has academic rounds involving the residents at least once per week.

We are currently in the process of developing a Surgical Competencies in Resuscitation and Stabilization of Hospital Patients (CRASH) Course for our incoming R1 class, which will integrate the Advanced Trauma Life Support Course and the Fundamentals of Critical Care Course into a 4 week curriculum that will introduce residents to key competencies in the evidence based management of complex trauma and critical illness. We are excited about this initiative as we believe it will give our residents a big head start in mastering essential skills at a very early stage of training.

A new Surgeon Scientist Program (SSP) is also set to launch in July 2010. We recognize that our applicants come to us with strong track records of achievement in a diversity of fields and strong commitment to a diversity of ideals. The SSP recognizes that these ideals will shape the future of general surgery. We have designed the SSP to ensure that ideals are developed into action and that they translate into innovative and ambitious surgical careers. Although UBC general surgery residents have had a longstanding history of academic productivity (including regular presentations at national and international meetings, publications in prestigious journals, major research awards and even success at peer-reviewed grant competitions), the residency program is rapidly moving forward with its most comprehensive research agenda to date. The SSP is a longitudinal program of research that will span the entire period of training for all residents. In the R1 year, residents will be linked with research groups of their choice in an introductory phase of the SSP (Research Matters). Informal experiences with these research groups will result in a full month research elective in the R2 year, during which time residents will prepare research proposals suitable for submission for research trainee awards from local and national funding agencies. Residents wishing to pursue research years or graduate degrees will be encouraged to do so. All other residents will continue to be involved in academic work alongside their clinical training for the duration of their residency program. In recent years, many of our residents have made important contributions in basic science or clinical research, public health, surgical education, quality improvement, and global health. We believe that success in academic surgery depends on excellent mentorship, and the program will continue to devote considerable attention to linking our residents to superb mentors and exciting research projects.

Measurement of competency is a core priority for all rotations and educational initiatives.  “What is not measured cannot be improved”, a principle of the North Carolina NCAA women’s soccer team, is also a central principle of our program. We have emphasized regular written and oral examinations, competencies based rotation evaluations, detailed and continuous reviews of electronic case logs (customized T-Res outputs), case by case evaluation (GRITS forms), and frequent assessments of technical skills in the simulator (trauma team leadership, skills competitions, laparoscopic skills courses).

In a recent Royal College review, our residents were specifically cited as one of the main strengths of our program. We agree. The training is good, but our residents are our biggest selling point. If you decide to train here, you will be joining a community of outstanding individuals.  We are confident that, in addition to having great adventures and developing outstanding surgical skills, that you will build enduring friendships during your time at UBC.