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Surgery Clerkship

Third-year students from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine rotate through the Department of Surgery in small groups for six weeks at a time as a part of their curriculum. While the students are in the clerkship they are assigned to a team of attending surgeons and residents. During the clerkship students are an integral part of the surgical team. They are assigned patients, are responsible for the history, physical examination, differential diagnosis, and formulation of a plan of action and follow-up for these patients. They are instructed in and participate in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and other aspects of patient care. Didactic material is presented through student lectures, conferences, rounds, and self-education. The students are exposed to a broad-based general surgical service and have opportunities to rotate through the emergency room, intensive care unit, and various surgical specialties.

The goal of the Surgery Clerkship is to provide students with a broad range of clinical experiences in which to develop and improve their skills for data collection, the organization, integration, and presentation of data, procedural skills, recognition of treatment priorities, and the management of emergencies. The emphasis in this clerkship is on the problems unique to the surgical discipline and on the participation in frequently used surgical therapeutic methods.

Erica Coleman is the clerkship coordinator and she works in conjunction with Dr. Emily Steinhagen, the clerkship director.


Clerkship Director: Dr. Emily Steinhagen
Office number: 216-844-5025

Clerkship Coordinator: Erica Coleman

Clerkship Structure

Students will spend time on two different surgical services: there is a four-week experience on one team, and a two-week selective experience on another team. Students are encouraged to participate in operating room cases on a variety of services for a broad exposure to the surgery. Students spend time in the operating room, on the wards, and in outpatient clinics.

Didactics and skills workshops occur on a weekly basis. Students will be taught the basics of:

  • scrubbing, gowning and gloving
  • suturing
  • placement and removal of IVs, tubes, lines and drains
  • experience the basics of laparoscopic surgery in our simulation center

Students will also meet faculty from a variety of surgical disciplines to learn directly from experts about clinical topics.

Current students should review the information in Canvas for more details about what to expect from the surgery clerkship.