The Surgery Clerkship rotation is eight weeks long and includes a two-week subspeciality rotation. The class size is around 26 students, divided among three participating clerkship sites.

As members of the healthcare team, students will:

  • Assume responsibility for patient care under supervision
  • Enhance their clinical skills through history-taking and physical exams
  • Identify and solve problems in a surgical environment
  • Develop plans for investigation and management
  • Develop an awareness of emotional, social and economic implications of illness
  • Engage in self-assessment and recognize educational needs
  • Appreciate the psychological consequences of surgical procedures
  • Acquire an understanding of professional and ethical principles in relation to patient management and physician-patient family relationships
  • Develop communication skills (oral case presentation, chart notes, etc.)
  • Develop professional habits in line with the ACGME core competencies


In our clerkship, students learn basic principles of surgery, including:

  • Preoperative care
  • Postoperative care
  • Fluid and electrolyte therapy
  • Acid - Base balance
  • Surgical nutrition
  • Wound healing, wound care, wound management
  • Complications of surgery
  • Principles of asepsis
  • Shock
  • Burns
  • Priorities in multiple trauma
  • Endocrine response to trauma
  • Basic principles in surgical oncology

Students will learn basic concepts of common illnesses that pertain to surgery (symptoms, signs, pathophysiology, investigation and principles of management). They will be able to adequately perform the following physical examinations: breast, abdominal, rectal and hernia examinations.

Students observe and assist in the operating room and are expected to correlate surgical pathology with clinical findings. In their own time or in any downtime, students practice basic suturing techniques.

Participating sites

Sentara Leigh Hospital

830 Kempsville Road
Norfolk, VA 23502

Sentara Surgery Specialists

880 Kempsville Road, Suite 1000
Norfolk, VA 23502
Site Director: James Schneider, MD
Assistant: Cheryl Gibbs

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth

620 John Paul Jones Circle
Charette Health Care Center
Portsmouth, VA 23708-2197
Site Director: Arthur Johnson, MD
Administrative Assistant: Dovie Loud

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital

600 Gresham Drive
Norfolk, VA 23507

EVMS Surgery

825 Fairfax Avenue, 6th floor
Norfolk, VA 23507
Clerkship & Site Director: Jessica Burgess, MD
Administrative Assistant: Ashley Jones