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On-Boarding Surgical Students/Residents

The purpose of this webpage is to make the on-boarding of all future surgical students, interns, and residents more efficient. The information provided on this page has the required documents you will need to complete PRIOR to rotating through the Phoenix VA Surgical departments.

Phoenix VA Health Care System: Surgery Medical Student & Residency Guidelines

Mission Statement:   To stimulate medical student education and expose them to a variety of clinical situations, providing students with a welcoming atmosphere to surgical services, and considered a valuable team member.

Location and Address:
Phoenix VA Health Care System
650 East Indian School Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85012-1892

Course Director: 
Howard Bourdages, MD (General Surgery Students/Residents)
William Gitchell, OD (Optometry Students)
Kelly Pirozzi, DPM (Podiatry Residency)
Annie Jong, DPM (Podiatry Externship)
Christopher Cranford, MD (Orthopedic Externship)
Harold Dossett, MD (Orthopedic Residency)
Wesley Lewis, MD (Otolaryngology/ENT Residency)
Vivienne Halpern, MD (Vascular Resident Rotation)
Randall Ball, MD (Gyn Residency)
Blair McLaughlin, PA (ENT PA)
Kirsten Janosek, MD (Urology Residency)
Megan Sweeney, CRNA (SRNA Students) 

Administrative Staff:      
Use the above email address in all communication. It will alert to all Admin Staff. 

Requirements for starting on station:

Students are to complete all required forms and must contact the Surgical Administrative email group 3-6 months prior to the start of the rotation to establish VA patient charting codes. If you do not have the proper codes or a “PIV” card, you will not be allowed to begin the rotation and will be sent away. During the rotation, students are to have clean, neat clothes. No Operating Room scrubs please. You’ll need to fill out all forms below in a timely manner to be able to rotate through the Phoenix VA Surgical Department.

Surgery On-Boarding Package

Required Documents: * all documents are required to be returned to your VA Coordinator as soon as possible.

1. Fingerprint Receipt (if applicable, page 3)
   a. **You must print and take the form with you to PIV**
2. TMS Mandatory Training for Trainees Certificate of Completion (see page 4-5)
   a. *** This course is due annually for all HPTs
3.  JIT Request form (page 6)
4. OF-306 (page 7-9)
5. 10-2850D (page 10-13)
6. SF61 (page 14)
7. Self-Certification (page 15)
8. Rules of Behavior (page 16-22)
9. HPT Applicant Processing Form (page 23)
10. Random Drug Testing Notification & Acknowledgment (page 24)
11. Dining Form (page 25)

13. USCIS I-9 Citizenship Form (page1)
14. Accompanying Identification (listed on page 3)

Course Goals:

Surgeons find their field to be the most exciting and interesting in medicine and we hope that medical students genuinely grow and enjoy their surgical rotation. Most important, we encourage students to have an open mind regarding their eventual career choice and to spend the appropriate time and effort to make this important decision.

Course goals include:

  • Basic Surgical techniques
  • Wound healing: phases and clinical exam
  • Surgical infection: evaluation and management
  • Abdominal pain evaluation and exam
  • Elements of Surgery History and Physical
  • Preoperative surgical risk assessment
  • Recovery from major surgical procedures

Measurable Course Objectives:

  • Learn to tie knots, close skin incisions
  • Learn sterile technique
  • Become a team member, rounds, notes, time out, lead discussion
  • Public speaking experience with case presentation

Assessment Methods:

Students will be assessed using the UA Faculty Assessment of Student Performance form. It is very important that students work with the course director during the course of the rotation, although some input may come from surgery residents and other faculty.   Students are asked to request an informal mid-point meeting with the course director with regard to progress and they are encouraged to give feedback.


  • Show interest and enthusiasm for patient care and your profession.   We want you to enjoy and learn a lot during this rotation.
  • Arrive early for rounds and participate with the surgical team.   Be organized and inform others of information as you integrate into the team.
  • Know your patients and read about cases you plan to join the day before surgery. As much as possible, take responsibility for their care as you become their doctor.
  • Learn to tie knots and some basic suturing with the residents outside the OR.   You can then be more active during the case. This is important even if you are not going into surgery as this maybe the only time that you have to acquire such skills.
  • Do a case presentation during conference.   Public speaking is a difficult skill for most, however it can be very valuable in your career later down the line.
  • Look at surgical sub-specialties and anesthesia, feel free to inquire about cases and do not limit yourself at this stage.
  • Do not be shy, we want to get to know you.   You will find that learning opportunities are often all around as long as you recognize the moments, make inquires and pursuits.
  • Show courtesy and professionalism to those you encounter: patients, staff, residents, nurses, and all.  This is very important.

Format (This applies to General Surgery Students/Residents):
The daily schedule is variable. Students are expected to do morning rounds as part of the surgical team under the leadership of the general surgery Chief Resident.  

Surgery Days:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 

Clinic Day:
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 

Banner Student Lecture:

Surgery M and M: All Tuesday's except 1st of the month Conf Room 3134 Surgery Dept
Tumor Treatment: 2nd, 4th and 5th Friday, 7:30 am ACC Basement
GI/Surgery: 1st Friday, 7:30 am conf room 3134
Banner Good Sam Lecture: Thursday 8 am
General Surgery Rounds and Preop: Thursday afternoon

Recommended Reading:
Banner Program Material

We consider it a great honor for those who pursue a career in surgery, however, we hope this clerkship will be a valuable experience no matter what field you enter.