Surgery FAQ

Here are the responses made by residents in response to some of the most frequently asked questions by applicants to the program. They are unedited and verbatim, and are intended to provide additional insight into the resident experience here at NHRMC

Is there a difference between university-hospital and community-hospital programs?

  • University – much more bureaucracy, much more hierarchal. Potential for staunch traditional and unbending ways. Usually must wait your turn to operate – PGY3 or beyond.
  • Community – More “family-like.” Attendings more accessible, less hierarchal. Operate right away. More laid-back usually.
  • There are fundamental differences in how the hospitals themselves are run. Residents at NHRMC are a luxury - the hospital is made to run without them. That leaves much more time for patient-care, operating and learning than at a hospital that relies on residents for everyday, nominal tasks.
  • Definitely a difference.
  • University – more structured, complex cases but less operative time; more research
  • Community – large operative experience, work closely with attendings, minimal research

What are the advantages and disadvantages between the two types of programs?

  • Same as above.
  • Advantages community program – early, thorough operative experience, one-on-one time with attendings
  • Advantages university program – contacts are easier to come by, no (few) away rotations.
  • Disadvantages community program – less exposure to “cutting edge” techniques.
  • Disadvantages university program – work with fellows (lose cases), less OR time early on, they are inefficient places by nature, questionable preparation for the “real world.”
  • If you want to be a super-specialized surgeon you may thrive in an academic center. If you want excellent general surgery training – community training is much more relevant.

What are the differences between a residency program in a large city versus one in a smaller one away from urban centers?

  • Large city – traffic, higher cost of living, more cultural events. Small city – less hassle, lower cost of living, slower-paced, more family friendly.
  • We see all of the nearby trauma and the nearby pathology. There are no competing residency programs.
  • People really know each other and care about each other

What should I look for when I visit a residency program?

  • Do the residents look happy?
  • Do the residents get along?
  • Are the chiefs prepared?
  • Are there adequate cases?
  • Is this a tolerable environment/city for the next five years?
  • Resident camaraderie and satisfaction.
  • Compliance with work hour restrictions.
  • Away rotations (how many, how long).
  • Facilities, hospital staff.
  • Are the interns awake enough to learn something?
  • Whether or not you can see yourself at that program and happy.
  • You should be able to meet your goals there. 

What is a typical day?

There is no such thing as a typical day at a Level II Trauma Center; however, your day will normally begin at 5:30 am for pre-rounding and finish at approximately 5:30 pm. That is unless you are on call, wherein your day will finish about 7:30 am the next morning. Morning rounds with the Chiefs begins at 7:00 am with the OR’s first cases beginning at 7:15 am. When not scrubbed in on a case, there are conferences, rounding, clinics, reading, OR logs to be updated, and chart work to be done.

What are typical day of off-duty diversions?

  • Going to the beach
  • Surfing
  • Fishing
  • Golfing
  • Cycling
  • Shopping
  • Sleeping
  • Reading
  • Museums
  • Plenty of restaurants to eat at

What is Wilmington like?

Wilmington, a 250 year old port city, thrives as a premier tourist and filmmaking community. With approximately 100,000 people living in Wilmington, it is big enough to find plenty of things to do, yet small enough that you don’t feel overwhelmed like you can in a big city. Along with great beaches, Wilmington has:
  • Nice golf courses
  • Parks
  • Plantations
  • Department stores
  • Theatrical productions
  • A state university
  • A lot of restaurants

During the summer the average temperature is 88 and during the winter it is 58. Other than an occasional hurricane, the weather is pretty mild.

What sets NHRMC general surgery program apart from the others?

We are a small community-based program where residents interact daily on a professional and personal level. They learn to operate as a team, which is crucial to their education and to patient care. The cases are diverse and you are in the operating room from the first day you are here. The faculty is committed to the program, patient care and resident education. Their interaction with the residents makes for a comfortable educational experience allowing for personal, one-on-one instruction. This is what sets us apart from the larger programs.

When does your academic year begin?
Our academic year officially begins on June 24th. Orientation for incoming residents begins on the Monday before and is all week long. All incoming residents are expected to be here for the orientation process.