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Simulation and Certification

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

All residents are required to be certified in ACLS prior to beginning residency as well as maintaining certification throughout residency. MedStar Union Memorial Hospital provides ACLS courses free to residents for the duration of their residency.

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)

All categorical residents are required to be certified in ATLS prior to beginning their third year. This is done before the resident rotates at University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital for the acute care surgery rotation. The residency program will schedule the course at Shock Trauma in time to start their trauma rotation.

Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS)

All categorical residents undergo training for FLS at our Clinical Simulation Lab. In addition to regular practice on the FLS device, residents develop significant laparoscopic skills during their residency in the operating room with cases such as laparoscopic appendectomy, cholecystectomy, colectomy, splenectomy, abdominoperineal resection and adrenalectomy. The exam is taken in their chief year so residents will be FLS certified prior to taking the board exam.

Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES) 

All categorical residents undergo training for FES at a nearby Clinical Simulation Lab. In addition to practice on the FES simulator, residents develop endoscopic skills during their residency, particularly during their endoscopy month as a PGY-3. The exam is taken in their PGY-4 year so residents will be FES certified prior to taking the board exam

Clinical Simulation Center

Courses are offered on a monthly basis at the MedStar Clinical Simulation Center near MedStar Harbor Hospital.


  • At the beginning of the year, there is a one-day boot camp to start with informed consent, knot tying, pig feet suturing and central line insertion to provide orientation for the new interns.
  • For the remainder of the year, we simulate surgical problems such as postoperative MI, hematoma, narcotic overdose and tension pneumothorax.
  • Interns also learn procedures such as intubation, central line placement and biopsy skills. Once competent, they can perform these procedures when needed on patients.
  • In addition, megacodes are conducted several times throughout the year. This enables residents to practice ACLS skills in a controlled environment while receiving real-time feedback from senior residents and attendings.

PGY-2 and PGY-3

  • Courses in operative skills such as laparotomy, carotid endarterectomy and open AAA repair are offered to junior residents.
  • Time is set aside to begin working on FLS competency.
  • As their skills improve, junior residents begin teaching procedural skills and megacodes to the interns.

PGY-4 and PGY-5

  • Senior residents perfect their skills in preparation for the FLS exam.
  • Senior residents also proctor and teach interns and junior residents.
  • A laparoscopic simulator is available with advanced surgical procedures such as lap hernia repair, lap cholecystectomy, lap appendectomy, lap liver resections and lap colectomy.

Cadaver Lab

Cadaver labs are grouped by anatomic region (e.g. carotid dissection, tracheostomy, emergent cricothyroidotomy, accessory nerve and recurrent laryngeal nerve dissection, thyroid and parathyroid dissection in head and neck). With each session, senior residents teach junior residents dissection and surgical skills. Attendings supervise the learning session and assist in helping meet the goals and objectives.

Mock Orals

Mock oral examinations are scheduled twice a year. Categorical residents are placed in three different rooms with the attendings. Exam questions are structured around core surgical knowledge and allows the residents to practice logical thinking as well as planning safe surgical management of patients.

Application Process

How to apply.

Salary & Benefits

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