Maine Medical Center
Surgeons prepping for an operation

Rotations & Electives

The roots of the word Doctor come from the Greek word meaning Teacher. The Department of Surgery at the Maine Medical Center is committed to medical student education at all levels. The presence of medical students and residents at MMC generates a spirit of inquiry, energy, and excellence throughout the institution. Superb teaching programs have been an integral part of Maine Medical Center's emergence as the major tertiary care center in Maine, as well as a leader of community hospitals. Our size allows us to get to know our medical students on a personal basis and encourages our faculty to accommodate individual needs and learning styles during. We prepare individuals to understand the ethical responsibilities of patient care and foster the process that allows them to be teachers and independent thinkers throughout their careers.

We are affiliated with the Tufts University School of Medicine, and provide the basic surgical clerkship to the students in the TUSM Maine Track in both the block-based curriculum and Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum. We also host TUSM third and fourth year students for their surgical elective rotations, as well as students from other institutions wishing to come for a visiting elective rotation. These Acting Internships (AIs) are open to fourth-year medical students from across the country. Please read below for descriptions of our current medical student course offerings.

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Third year clerks spend 8 weeks on the Surgical services at MMC. The rotation is split between time on a general surgical service (3 weeks), surgical ICU, trauma, subspecialty services and night float. Students are expected to gain an understanding of the care of the general surgery patient, pre-round on 1-3 patients each morning and present these patients on team rounds, learn basic bedside procedures under supervision, and scrub in on operations as assigned by the service chief. There will be outpatient experiences on each rotation. From one to three times a week the student will spend a half-day in either the surgical clinic or in a private surgeon's office.

During the clerkship there will be lectures, student case presentations and clinical case presentations. The lectures are in general surgical topics and introductions to surgical subspecialties. Many of the lectures are interactive and the students are expected to read relevant chapters in the general surgery text prior to the lecture. Student case presentations are conferences where the students bring cases to present to an attending and their fellow students. Clinical case discussions are conferences where an attending will bring a case to be presented to the students and to be managed by the students.

Final grade is based on evaluations filled out by the Attendings, Residents, PA's and Nurse Practitioners with whom the student works, on a written exam, and on an oral exam. A mid-term review of the student's work is provided. There will be an exit meeting at the end of the rotation to provide an opportunity for feedback from the students and to go over the student's performance.

Surgical Acting Internships at MMC are open to any student enrolled in an ACGME-approved Medical School in the United States. An Acting Internship offers students the opportunity to experience MMC and the Portland community while making career decisions. We offer this opportunity on all of our general surgical services, which are listed under description of the program. Regardless of service, however, all AIs will have similar requirements.

Acting Interns at MMC are expected to be integral members of their resident teams, gaining diagnostic and therapeutic skills by starting to manage basic general surgical patients. Please note, MMC has housing available that visiting medical students can request, although it is not a guarantee.

Acting Interns will be asked to:

  • Pre-round on a small subset of patients each morning and to present these patients on formal team rounds.
  • See a basic general surgery consult patient and discuss the diagnosis, further workup and subsequent management with the team and/or the attending.
  • See patients in surgical clinics and present them to attendings.
  • Scrub as a first assist on at least one case per week.
  • Perform basic bedside procedures such as abscess drainage or chest tube placement under close supervision.
  • Give a formal presentation on a topic related to their patient care while on service at the completion of their rotation.
  • Attend all Department of Surgery teaching conferences, including the Monday morning resident conference, Thursday morning specialty conference, M&M and Grand Rounds and all service-specific conferences.
  • Take call on a roughly q4 schedule.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact the Department of Surgery's UME clerkship coordinator, Danielle Shaw at

The general surgery residency program utilizes a night float system. Our philosophy allows continuity of care and excellent learning but also emphasizes the need for growth and development outside of residency training. We take duty hours seriously and believe that adequate rest is integral to safe patient care and excellence in education.

Night float residents are on from 5:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. Sunday through Friday. Night float averages 1 month in 4 until the chief year. Chiefs do not participate in night float. There is a Saturday day call team, a Saturday night call team and a Sunday day call team. Residents not on night float take call 2 weekends out of the month. Maine Medical Center utilizes nurse practitioners to assist during transitional time and for protected educational time.

We monitor resident duty hours weekly in order to achieve compliance with the ACGME's new duty hour’s requirements. We support these new requirements wholeheartedly.

Read the commentary published in the Archives of Surgery by the Program Director entitled "Of Puppies and Dinosaurs: Why the 80-Hour Work Week Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened in American Surgery".