The curriculum of the General Surgery Residency Program at Carolinas Medical Center has been developed to build on the strengths of our diverse faculty, our immense clinical volume and innovative educational programs. The learning platform is based on focused education in the basic sciences, clinically centered conferences to develop practical and critical thinking skills, simulation for technical and cognitive development, multidisciplinary conferences to broaden understanding of complex topics, ABSITE® and oral-board prep conferences and other innovative educational methods.

The core of any surgical training is the clinical experience. Our residents begin their operative experience at the very onset of their residency and become accomplished technical surgeons well before finishing our program. Our goal is to continually refine the residency program through ongoing performance-improvement analysis and needs assessment. An important part of this process is allowing residents to contribute their own ideas for advancing their education.

Nearly all clinical rotations are housed in the main campus hospital of Carolinas Medical Center. The only rotations outside the main campus are only a few minutes’ drive away.

Core Rotations


The PGY-1 year provides early operative experience. New residents are matched with a faculty mentor to ensure a smooth transition to their new lifestyle. Extensive experience in the essentials of pre- and postoperative care for the surgical patient provides an essential foundation for growth in subsequent years. The PGY-1 resident spends time on rotations in trauma surgery, general surgery, surgical oncology, minimally invasive surgery, hepatopancreatobiliary surgery and pediatric surgery. All of these rotations are housed on Carolinas Medical Center’s main campus.


As operative experience increases in the second year, so does clinical responsibility. The PGY-2 resident receives extensive experience in surgical critical care. In addition, diagnostic and management skills are further developed during the night float rotation (two non-consecutive months per resident), a schedule designed by residents to best suit our program. Other rotations in the PGY-2 year include minimally invasive surgery, transplant surgery, surgical oncology and acute care/general surgery. The PGY-2 resident also receives extensive endoscopy experience.


The third year continues development in critical care, with rotations in both the trauma ICU as well as on the non-trauma Surgical Critical Care service. In addition, the PGY-3 resident serves as the chief resident of the Emergency General Surgery service, obtaining extensive operative experience while managing perioperative issues in close consult with acute care surgery attendings. This early leadership role, accompanied by active mentoring, serves residents extremely well as they continue to progress into the senior levels of residency. Rotations on the acute care, vascular, minimally invasive, transplant, and hepatopancreatobiliary surgery services, as well as an elective month, round out the third year. Significant endoscopy experience continues to be gained in the third year.


The PGY-4 resident is the chief resident of both the trauma service and the Pediatric Surgery service.  They also rotate in thoracic surgery, hepatopancreatobiliary surgery and surgical oncology.


Chief residents in our residency program function with great autonomy. As the chief resident of the general surgery service, the resident manages the clinic, sees consults, schedules operative procedures, follows patients post-operatively and truly runs a group practice with fellow chief residents.This is an invaluable experience and prepares the chief resident to enter into practice seamlessly upon completion of the residency. The PGY-5 also functions as the chief resident of the surgical oncology service and spends time in an apprenticeship model with individual attending surgeons in the division of minimally invasive surgery. The colorectal surgery rotation during the PGY-5 year is based at CMC-Mercy hospital, a short distance from the main campus. The fifth year is truly a finishing year, honing skills and preparing residents to practice independently without supervision. Each chief resident also assumes an administrative role in the residency, organizing departmental conferences, managing Grand Rounds, or planning ABSITE® prep sessions.