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The trauma program in the Department of General Surgery at Geisinger offers a four-week elective rotation in trauma surgery. Our Level 1 Adult and Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Program provides care for all ages from one month through 100+ years. We provide support to the Level 2 and 3 Trauma Centers and community hospitals in the area. Motor vehicle crash and falls are the two most prevalent injury categories. Approximately 1,850 patients are seen every year, 63 percent male and 37 percent female. We provide comprehensive trauma care that includes trauma resuscitation, physical evaluation and assessment, daily rounding, operative assist and educational opportunities.

The rotating medical student is integrated into our services by becoming active in the daily care of trauma patients. Medical students will be expected to attend daily rounds, present patients to the team, assist with procedures and operative care, document physical assessment, assist in the development of a plan of care, and present educational topics as relevant to the patient population. The most unique experiences in the trauma program are the work-up for unique injuries and the close collaboration and exposure to other specialties including neurosurgery and orthopedics.

Goals & objectives

The overall educational objective for the rotating student is to expose the student to an integrated health care system, specialize in the care of trauma patients, and enhance quality of life through patient care, education and research. Specific educational goals will include:


  • To increase knowledge of etiologic and pathologic basis of the disease process as well as the physiologic basis of fluid and electrolytes; wound healing, nutrition, and organ function important for post-op follow-up
  • Learn how to manage patient outcomes and improvement in trauma surgery and trauma settings
  • Trauma decision making will be learned along with the various phases of management skills through interaction with trauma surgical faculty


  • Students will be knowledgeable in the principles of pre-op assessment, operative interventions, and post-op care and follow up in patients presenting with a wide variety of trauma injury.
  • Students will evaluate new patients with traumatic injury, preoperative assessment of surgical trauma patients, follow up of post-op Trauma patients, and the performance of minor outpatient procedures that are frequently done in the clinic area.
  • Presentation of the patient to the trauma supervising attending
  • Performance of surgical trauma operations with attending supervision; the type of case and level of responsibility in each case will be determined by the level of experience of the student.
  • Students will routinely attend trauma clinic in order to gain a longitudinal experience for patient care.
  • The principles of resuscitation and rapid diagnosis will be emphasized. Rapid interpretation of clinical findings, laboratory values and radiologic results will be stressed as important aspects of trauma management. The “team concept” of trauma will be emphasized.

Apply now

Acceptance into the elective is by application only.

All applications must be submitted through the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities™ (VSLO®) 

Contact us

Megan Longenberger, BS
Medical Education Coordinator