First day on call

New residents begin training, duty in Gainesville and Jacksonville

Days before he was to start his first shift at UF&Shands, new resident Brendan Williams watched as his lower leg was immobilized in a splint at UF’s Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute.

“Not too tight, you don’t want to cut the circulation off,” senior cast tech Rodney Jones said to Josh Vickers, the new orthopaedic surgery resident applying the splint to Williams’ leg.

“Are you sure?” joked Vickers.

Luckily, Williams’ injury wasn’t real and the splint was just part of an orthopaedic boot camp skills lab for new residents.

The UF College of Medicine’s orthopaedic department started the orientation program in 2011, said Kendra Gordon, education and training coordinator for UF department of orthopaedics and rehabilitation.

“It’s just to make them a little more comfortable,” she said.

The boot camp allows new residents to practice basic skills and procedures, participate in simulation exercises and patient communication scenarios, and have skills assessed by faculty. It also gives new interns additional time before starting their jobs to get familiar with the campus, faculty and staff and EPIC, the health care system’s recently launched electronic medical records program.

“I think this will reduce the stress during the first few days in the hospital,” said Williams, who moved to Gainesville from New York for his residency in orthopaedic surgery.

New orthopaedic residents Brendan Williams (left) and Josh Vickers (right) practice casting and splinting techniques on each other during an orthopaedics boot camp, while cast tech James McDuffie (center) looks on. This is the second year that the department has held the program for incoming orthopaedics residents. Photo by Jesse S. Jones

Mark Scarborough, M.D., program director for orthopaedic surgery, got the idea for the program from UF’s neurosurgery department, which started its resident boot camp in 2009.

Gwen Lombard, associate program director of the neurosurgery residency program, said the boot camp also allows new residents, who arrive here from medical schools across the country, to hone their skills and UF faculty to assess what they know.

“They come with different levels of skill sets,” she said.

Neurosurgery’s three new residents practice everything from performing a neurological exam on a patient to practicing spinal taps and ventriculostomies on computerized mannequins in the department’s simulation lab.

“We want them to be prepared, so we want them to have the basic tools to be successful,” said Jamie Dow, resident education and training coordinator for the neurosurgery department.

Residents said they appreciate the extra time and training.

“We’re learning a lot of stuff that we’re going to be to expected to know when we start,” said Orrin Dayton, a new neurosurgery resident. “I think it will make us more efficient and better doctors our first day on the floor.”

Sharron Wallace, who is housestaff affairs coordinator in Gainesville, said other departments also have residents arrive a little earlier for orientation and to complete specialized training. For example, critical care, surgery and emergency medicine also have their residents complete specialized advanced cardiovascular life support training and advanced trauma life support training.

New UF neurosurgery residents Brian Sindelar (left) and Justin Hilliard practice placing a mannequin’s skull in a Mayfield skull clamp, while fellow resident Orrin Dayton (center) looks on. The three residents honed their skills at the department of neurosurgery’s Surgical Research Training Laboratory. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

“They’re getting the sickest patients, trauma patients,” Wallace said.

“So they need a little more specialized training before they hit the ground running.”

All incoming first-year residents also do an Objective Structured Clinical Examinations, where they are observed and evaluated as they interview, examine and treat standardized patients at the college’s Harrell Professional Development and Assessment Center. The results of this assessment are shared with each resident’s program director enabling each program to tailor early training to specific areas of weakness identified by this examination.