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First Aid for Third Year Clerkships at JMC

General Surgery Clerkship at York


How did you get there? What is the IDEAL way to get there (if different)? If you took public transportation how much did it cost?
  • Driving. I carpooled with another Jeff student. A train is possible from Philly to Lancaster, then to York. It takes 2 hours to get to York without any delays or traffic, and 2.5-3 hours coming back.


If you lived away from campus, how was the housing?
  • Rotating students are given a dorm room for the entire 6-week clerkship. I shared a double room with the other Jeff student. If there is only one Jeff student you may share a room with a student from another school. The dorms are attached to the hospital, so there is no daily commute. Students are allowed to leave stuff in the rooms over the weekends. There are separate male/female floors, and each floor has a community bathroom & showers.
Food: Was it paid for? Were there free lunches? Did you get meal vouchers when you were on-call?
  • There is free breakfast, lunch, & dinner for all students at the cafeteria. The cafeteria is somewhat small and food is ok. There was also a seemingly endless supply of sodas and bottled water in the dorms with deli, chips and sometimes ice cream in the fridge.


How were the 6 weeks divided up?
  • According to the site coordinator, Jeff students are assigned 3 weeks on the vascular service, and 3 weeks on a general/Colorectal surgery service. Jeff students are placed on Vascular by default.
  • The York clerkship manual says that students can actually request to be on an ENT/Urology, Plastics, Cardiothoracic, or Vascular team for their 3 specialty weeks.
  • If you want to be placed on one of the other services, you must email the clerkship coordinator at least four 4 weeks in advance. I would strongly recommend to anyone going here to request to be placed on a service, but it really does not matter what speciality service you are on because you are welcome to scrub into any interesting case on any particular day.
Are you able to request what you want?
  • Yes. Plastic surgery was awesome. The attendings allowed you to do a lot of suturing, stapling, etc.


Did you have lectures/didactic sessions at your rotation site?
  • There were usually weekly lecture sessions on Tuesday afternoons, which lasted 1-3 hours depending on what was being taught on. A schedule of lectures and presentation times were given at the beginning of the rotation, but were constantly updated throughout the rotation. The lectures were very solid and well organized, much better than the lectures at Jeff. The attendings who taught these lectures were engaging and the sessions were fairly interactive, especially since there were only 8-10 students there
Did you give a presentation? Were you required to do so?
  • Jeff students are required to give one ‘formal’ 20 minute PowerPoint presentation on a patient they had been assigned at the end of the first 3 weeks. We presented the case to the clerkship director and other medical students rotating at York.


What were your hours (roughly)?
  • You usually had to be done pre-rounding and writing notes on patients by 6:15am.
  • 5 a.m. - 4 p.m. (including scheduled lecture time) Monday-Thursday.
  • OR began at 7:45 a.m. and students scrubbed into 3-4 cases a day.
Did you get off on major holidays, or were you expected to be there (i.e. Labor Day, Thanksgiving & Friday after Thanksgiving)? Weekends?
  • No holidays, no weekend duty. Jeff students leave on Thursday night to travel back to Philly for Friday lectures, then return on Sunday evening.
What was the call schedule?
  • Jeff students are assigned 2 nights of trauma call (5 a.m.-noon, the following day) and 2-3 nights of general surgery call over the entire 6 weeks. You can trade call dates if necessary. All students are required to show up for trauma cases when on call.
In the Hospital, did you feel a part of the ‘team’? Did residents/attendings appreciate you?
  • Yes. This has been the first time as a third year student that I truly felt part of the team. For the most part, residents are really friendly and enjoy having students. Because of the limited case volume, students are encouraged to shadow and watch other teams when there are no cases for the day. While this schedule flexibility can be a good thing, this can make it more difficult to become ‘part of a team.’
How was the teaching by attendings?
  • The General Surgery and Plastics team (‘Leader Team’) was excellent. Dr. Tiru is a great teacher and really enjoys having students around. His office hours are an excellent learning opportunity and a valuable 1-on-1 experience. Dr. Prats did a great job, too.


  • Hard work and enthusiasm.
  • Introduce yourself to the scrub and circulating nurses before the case starts.
  • Stay on top of what's going on with your patients.


  • York is a community hospital where students are exposed to the ‘bread & butter’ cases like laproscopic cholecystectomies, appendectomies, thyroidectomies, etc.
  • Hours - Havingt no weekend call and getting every Friday morning off is amazing.
  • Teaching - Dr. Mpinga, the education coordinator, really ensures that we're learning and enjoying our time at York. One one of the nights, she invites all the students over to her house for a home-cooked meal.
  • You will definitely be exposed to all of the basics of surgery and see what it's like to practice general surgery/subspecialties in a community hospital setting. Because the schedule is a little lighter, there is more than enough time to read and study for the shelf.
  • Housestaff - In general, everyone is disarmingly nice.
  • Overnight call - While the hours for overnight call can be tough, you get to do so much. You have a pager which alerts you to traumas that are coming in, so you are in on any trauma that comes into the ER, and if you're on ER call, you get to drop NG tubes and suture up lacerations when surgery is consulted.
  • Free food - While the selection is not super great, they have a salad bar which is decent enough. They do have a ridiculous amount of dessert options, though.
  • Volume and variability of cases is rather limited, and it can be difficult to find opportunities to practice doing procedures (placing NG tubes, foleys, etc.).
  • Distance - York is 2 hrs away, so you're pretty much away for the week and you need a car to get there.
  • Internet access - York's internet is super slow and for some reason blocks you from accessing PELS.

Last revised: 01/12

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