The education and training of today’s cardiothoracic surgeon begins with medical school, is nurtured in a general surgery residency, and is formally addressed in a 2-3 year residency program dedicated entirely to cardiothoracic issues-it goes without saying that the continuation of this process is lifelong learning. The University of Florida has had an approved residency in Thoracic Surgery for over thirty years. Ours is a 3-year program, primarily based in our university hospital, Shands at UF, with rotations at an affiliated Veterans Administration Medical Center. Currently we accept one resident into the program each year.
The residents are closely involved in the pre-operative assessment, operation, and post-operative care of all patients on their services. Their operative experience is commensurate with their increasing skills, judgment and surgical maturity-most residents submit an operative experience of about six hundred cases for their Board Applications. All areas of cardiothoracic experience are available at the University of Florida, including congenital and acquired cardiac problems, aortic pathologies, pulmonary malformations and neoplasms, esophageal procedures, chest wall abnormalities and post-operative critical care. Newer modalities of cardiac and pulmonary transplantation, minimally invasive pulmonary and cardiac procedures, and electrophysiologic procedures are fully integrated into the training program.
Finishing residents have been eligible for UNOS certification in Cardiac Transplantation since l984 and Pulmonary Transplantation since 1994. The depth and breadth of the complex aortic surgery performed has been a boon to graduating residents as a distinction in the competitive job market.
Currently six faculty members, with varied interests in individual areas of expertise, lead the residents thru their training. The high volumes and tertiary complexities of the cases lead to a very close and highly educational relationship between resident and faculty. A large number of physician extenders and general surgery residents allow for focus on the major problems arising in the care of complex patients. Didactic and planning/review conferences are held on three of the five weekday mornings. Our residency is in full agreement and compliance with the RRC Guidelines for resident work hours.
Cardiothoracic Surgery is a new and rapidly advancing area of specialization that is quite attractive to the highly motivated, compulsive young surgeons of today. It is the primary reason that each of our faculty has pursued a career in academic surgery-to associate with and guide such young people. The pleasure has been and will continue to be all ours.