Welcome to the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Surgery Medical Student Program


General Surgery Student Clerkship and Fourth-Year Programs

Third-Year Surgery Clerkship
The third-year clerkship in surgery is designed to provide our medical students with broad exposure to a wide variety of topics in both general surgery and the surgical subspecialties. Students may be assigned to a variety of rotations including General Surgery, Acute Care Surgery, Trauma Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Pediatric Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, or community-based, general surgical practice. Students completing the clerkship will be able to recognize common surgical diseases and be familiar with the initial evaluation and management of these common surgical problems.

This educational experience is provided through a combination of didactic teaching sessions, experience on the surgical ward, web-based learning, a regular conference schedule, suture skills lab, operative experience and interactive small group sessions. The student will develop an understanding of a wide variety of topics; this will provide the foundation for recognizing and treating patients in the years following their medical school education.

Caitlin Patten, MD
Department of Surgery
Student Clerkship Director

Clerkship Program
The Junior Medical Student Surgery rotation consists of a 2-month clerkship. Each student will rotate on two separate services, one month on a general surgery rotation and the other month a surgical subspecialty rotation.

During the 2-month rotation, the student will be exposed to a broad range of patients with surgical problems and the student will function as an integral member of the surgical team, being included in many elements of the patient’s care. Students will participate in the preoperative, operative and postoperative care of the surgical patient. Students will be responsible for developing an understanding of surgical disease(s), the pathophysiology of the patient’s disease process, and gain knowledge of the decision-making and clinical judgment required in the care of the patient.

Each rotation site has weekly conferences, lectures and rounds, in which students will fully participate.

Medical Student Performance Evaluation
Students are evaluated on clinical performance, lecture attendance/professionalism, the Surgery Clerkship Passport, and the NBME surgery subject exam. The NBME exam is administered at the end of the 2-month rotation. The clinical evaluation process occurs throughout the clerkship.

The Clerkship Director is Dr. Caitlin Patten, Assistant Professor in Surgical Oncology. Dr. Patten is a member of the Association for Surgical Education and the MCW Department of Surgery Student Education Committee.

The Surgery Student Coordinator, Catie Fihn, MBA, is a member of the Association for Surgical Education and the MCW Department of Surgery Student Education Committee.
Fourth-Year Sub-Internship
It is a firm belief that by the fourth year of medical school, students have acquired the necessary skills to function more independently, with a level of autonomy more closely resembling that afforded to a resident intern. The senior student is privileged with the opportunity to provide first encounter management, so as to formulate plans and therapies. Such opportunities enhance confidence-building as students mature to residency and ultimately to staff physicians. The independence afforded to fourth year students still requires staff intervention and physician oversight, in order to maintain continuous education for the student and optimal care for the patient.

Anuoluwapo Elegbede, MD
Department of Surgery
Sub-Internship Director

Sub-Internship Program
The fourth-year Surgery Sub-Internship program consists of a one-month rotation that serves as the foundation for students wishing to enter into a surgical residency. The purpose of this rotation is to familiarize the student with the responsibilities of a surgical resident and aid in the transition from medical student to resident physician.

Surgically oriented Sub-Intern rotations are offered in a number of specialties, including Vascular Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Trauma and Critical Care Surgery, Acute Care Surgery, Surgical Intensive Care, Pediatric Surgery, Transplant Surgery, and General Surgery, amongst others.

During the one-month rotation, the Sub-Intern will be the source of first encounters with patients, performing a complete history, physical examination, differential diagnosis, diagnostic plan, and implementation of treatment. The clinical care provided by a Sub-Intern is always under resident or faculty supervision.

Medical Student Performance Evaluation
Oral presentations are required for all Sub-Internship rotations. All rotations will use standardized clinical performance assessment forms, completed by residents, fellows, and attending faculty.

The Director of the Sub-Internship Program is Dr. Anuoluwapo (Anu) Elegbede, MD, Assistant Professor, Trauma and Critical Care Surgery. Dr. Elegbede is a member of the Association for Surgical Education and the Department of Surgery Student Education Committee. The Surgery Student Coordinator, Catie Fihn, MBA, is a member of the Association for Surgical Education and the Department of Surgery Student Education Committee.
M4 Surgical Sub-Internship Major Goals and Key Features

The surgical sub-internship, regardless of which department/division offers it, is designed to preview the responsibilities of an intern during the M4 year. Each student is required to complete a 1-month surgical sub-internship chosen from the list of CEC-approved rotations. These rotations may include any of the surgical specialties (including Obstetrics & Gynecology, anesthesiology and/or emergency medicine). Listed below are major goals for the sub-I and key features that constituent a Sub-Internship Experience.

Direct attending physician supervision is encouraged and preferable required as per LCME guidelines. All of the goals and key features will be accomplished with the appropriate supervision by senior residents and attending physicians.

Goals of Sub-Internship

  1. Independently complete an initial assessment of the patient and his/her problems (e.g., to distinguish the patient who needs intervention now from the "sick" patient with less acute needs).
  2. Manage the short-term needs of the acutely sick patient.
  3. Formulate a diagnosis and a plan of treatment
  4. After appropriate supervision, implement therapy based on assessment of risks/benefits of available therapies and monitor outcomes for the patients

Key Features of the Sub-Internship

  1. Serve as the physician of first contact for assigned patients.
  2. Be the physician of first contact for patients presenting with a diversity of multi-system problems and varying levels of problem severity and chronicity.
  3. Have primary/initial responsibility for formulating:
    3.1 an H & P with differential diagnosis
    3.2 treatment plan
    3.3 monitoring effectiveness of treatment plan
    3.4 talking with patient about his/her condition 
    3.5 talking with family about patient's condition 
    3.6 daily follow-up (where applicable) 
    3.7 progress, discharge, planning notes
  4. Experience the level of responsibility/autonomy similar to that of an early-year intern


  1. Primary responsibility for communication about patients to:
    1.1 team
    1.2 patient and family
    1.3 other health care professional

Call (if applicable)

  1. Assume call at a frequency appropriate for the service but no more often than every 3rd night.
  2. Admitting new patients
  3. Provide cross coverage appropriate to service
  4. Supervision of "on call" experience provided by Attending or Senior Resident.


  1. Attendance expected except when it interferes with urgent patient care responsibilities (patient care takes precedence)
Student Activities

Students can participate in various activities in the Department of Surgery, from their M1 year through M4 year. Several of these activities are highlighted as follows:


  1. Many Department of Surgery faculty volunteer for the Clinical Apprenticeship Program, to give students early exposure to surgery outpatient clinic
  2. Shadow a physician for a day in the operating room and/or clinics
  3. Tour the operating room and learn scrubbing/gowning/gloving
  4. Meet with faculty to discuss potential research project opportunities throughout the academic year
  5. Participate in summer research projects with faculty mentors
  6. Apply for a travel grant to the American College of Surgeons Meeting
  7. Attend the annual “Meet the Surgeons” Social Hour held each fall
  8. Join the Student Surgical Society for more opportunities


  1. Rotate with faculty and residents during the Surgical Clerkship for operating room, clinic, and hospital wards experiences
  2. Participate in an O.R. training and sharps safety course
  3. Meet with the Residency Program Director to discuss surgical career options and the interview process
  4. Meet with surgical mentors/advisors to create a strong application for a general surgery residency
  5. Apply for a travel grant to the American College of Surgeons Meeting
  6. Continue research or Pathway projects with faculty mentors

Visiting Students
The Department of Surgery offers several clinical electives for visiting M4 medical students in several surgical disciplines: Trauma Surgery, Surgical Intensive Care, Pediatric Surgery, Surgical Oncology, Colorectal Surgery, and Minimally Invasive General Surgery. The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Office of the Registrar can assist students with the application process for these electives as well as provide information on local housing options. For more information, please visit the Visiting Student website.
Anu Elegbede, MD, MSc

Anuoluwapo Elegbede, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor,
Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Associate Chief, Division of Education
M4 Clerkship Director

Caitlin Patten, MD

Caitlin Patten, MD
Associate Professor,
Surgical Oncology
M3 Clerkship Director

Paul Linsky, MD

Paul Linksy, MD
Assistant Professor,
Cardiothoracic Surgery
M3 Associate Clerkship Director

Catie Fihn, MBA

Catie Fihn, MBA
Program Manager
(414) 955-1832

Mailing Address:

Medical College of Wisconsin
Department of Surgery
Division of Education
8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226