Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Surgery Subinternship

The surgery subinternship is designed to help students acquire the cognitive, technical and communication skills needed for the first year of residency, regardless of the specialty. While the clinical experiences encountered during the rotation primarily involve surgical disease, the rotation itself emphasizes the multidisciplinary and collaborative nature of the modern approach to patient care that ensures safety and optimizes outcomes. Students are expected to assume the same responsibilities and tasks as first-year residents.

The subinternship features hands-on experiences in these clinical tracks:

  • Surgical oncology
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Trauma and acute care surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery

The rotation also provides three hours a week of protected time for educational activities such as case-based professor rounds and learning procedural skills under supervision. Interactive exercises such as mock-pages, web-based modules, reading assignments and short projects provide students with well-rounded experiences and skills in a high-yield, energetic and fun atmosphere. 

 Goals & Objectives

Detailed Goals and Objectives

Find comprehensive Surgery Subinternship Goals and Objectives.


At the end of the four-week experience, students will be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate proficient history-taking and physical examination skills
  2. Develop and discuss appropriate patient care plans
  3. Work up and manage common postoperative complications
  4. Develop appropriate management plans for patient complaints
  5. Properly counsel patients and obtain proper surgical consent
  6. Present a clinical case scenario reflective of adaptive thinking
  7. Demonstrate professional communication skills utilizing SBAR methodology
  8. Demonstrate skills in appropriately handing off care of patients
  9. Behave with honesty, integrity, respect and compassion toward all patients, families, allied health professionals and colleagues
  10. Ask for and give appropriate and timely feedback to team members in a non-confrontational or non-defensive manner; demonstrate ability to create a well-articulated plan for improvement
  11. Perform appropriate wound care for patients
  12. Demonstrate mastery level performance on knot tying, suturing, chest tube insertion (mannequin), central line insertion (mannequin), performing the FAST exam 

 Grading & Evaluation

Grades will be calculated as composite scores that acknowledge all the efforts student put into the rotation in addition to the clinical appraisals of faculty and residents on clinical services.

Students will be assessed through student portfolios that include:

  • Four direct observation forms reflecting the student’s competencies
  • A completed clerklog
  • Participation in weekly professor rounds
  • A presentation of a topic reflective of adaptive thinking chosen by the student and approved by the director at the beginning of the rotation
  • Evaluation of video-taped procedural skills
  • Evaluation of mock pages
  • Completion of educational modules and assigned tasks
  • Evaluations from attending(s) and senior resident 

 Tools and Readings


Abigail Tarbox

Anna Reczynski
Phone: 312-926-9411