Geisinger Medical Center's Department of Thoracic Surgery offers a four-week elective rotation to fourth-year medical students. Our department provides both inpatient and outpatient general thoracic surgical care to adult patients from the central Pennsylvania region, with a wide variety of disease processes involving primarily the neck, mediastinum, pleural space, lungs, esophagus, pericardium and chest wall. Surgical oncology is of primary interest, including malignancies of the lung, esophagus, pleura, mediastinum, and chest wall, as well as other malignancies metastatic to the chest. Minimally-invasive techniques, especially video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), are employed whenever possible, appropriate, and safe.
The medical student is integrated into the service by active participation in the daily care of our patients. In doing so, students are expected to demonstrate the ability, at a level appropriate for their training, to do the following clinical tasks:
- Perform independent initial evaluations of patients seen in consultation
- Formulate relevant detailed differential diagnoses
- Recommend appropriate work-up sequences
- Participate in the informed consent process
- Become familiar with basic surgical anatomy
- Understand goals of surgical therapy
- Actively participate in operative procedures
- Maintain daily inpatient follow-up on assigned patients
All clinical education activities are conducted under close supervision and in full cooperation of the surgical team, which includes the director of the department as well as a dedicated thoracic surgery physician assistant. Most importantly, students are expected to clearly demonstrate progress in all of the above mentioned areas throughout the time spent on the rotation.
Goals & objectives
The overall educational goal is to provide the medical student with an introductory exposure to the evaluation and compassionate care of patients with general thoracic surgical disease.
Specific educational goals include: application of focused history and physical exam skills, formulation of relevant differential diagnoses, familiarity with basic thoracic surgical anatomy, comprehension of thoracic surgical goals and expected outcomes, and application of evidence-based guidelines as they relate to all aspects of general thoracic surgery.
Acceptance into the elective is by application only.
All applications must be submitted through the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS).