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Message from the Surgery Chief Resident

Hello, and thank you for your interest in our residency program.

Peter Wu, MD teachiing suturing
Wu and PA teaching - suturing principles to a PA student

Choosing a residency is a stressful but exciting process. Residency will not only shape your career, but will also shape you as a person.  You need to ask yourself what you really want out of a program because let’s face it…5+ years of training is a long time to be a miserable resident and a lifelong career in surgery is an even longer time to regret not getting what you wanted out of residency.

I am writing to you on behalf of the graduating class of 2013. I have the unique perspective of having spent nearly a decade here at Baystate starting as a Tufts medical student, then continuing on as a junior resident, a research resident, a senior resident, and now chief resident. Needless to say, I have a great deal of insight into the hospital, the residency, its people, and the training that is offered here. I am not trying to convince you to come to Baystate; I just wanted to share with you what I discovered during my time here and why I think Baystate is a special place.

The Hospital

Baystate Medical Center is a highly-ranked, level one trauma and tertiary-care referral center with one of the busiest emergency departments in the country. We care for the region’s sickest and most complex patients. Our surgical residency has always been busy but with the recent addition of the new Heart and Vascular Center, the recruitment of new surgeons, and the planned opening of a new emergency room, new operating rooms, and more in the near future, the operative experience and clinical exposure at Baystate is seemingly unlimited.We remain at the forefront of surgical innovation and continue to push the limits of minimally invasive, robotic, natural orifice, and endoscopic surgery.

The Training

Drs. Wu and Stoddard teach PAs
Peter Wu, with a Plastic Surgery attending Dr Stoddard, teaching 3rd year medical students basic suturing principles in the Simulation Center

We have a dynamic and complete training program that offers tremendous patient volumes spanning the breadth of general surgery and its related fields. Being the only surgical residents in the hospital (other than gynecology), we are not uncommonly called upon to help patients with neurosurgical, otolaryngological, urologic, gynecologic, and orthopedic issues inside and outside of the operating room. All of this means that we are exposed to elective procedures in healthy patients, complex emergent reoperative surgeries in the critically ill, and everything in between in an extremely broad variety of patients.

Beyond the operating room, Baystate boasts one of the first accredited surgical simulation centers in the country with an aggressive curriculum to improve procedural skills as well as communication and teamwork. We are continuously improving the educational experience and finding novel ways to teach the craft of surgery while staying compliant with the 80-hour work week. Research pursuits are highly encouraged and opportunities are easily accessible to all residents. Some residents choose to dedicate extra time to research beyond the 5 years of general surgery training.

The Results

When you graduate from this program, you will have the skill, experience, and clinical acumen to either pursue advanced subspecialty training or to immediately launch your career as a general surgeon. Baystate residents have matched fellowships in colorectal, surgical oncology, minimally-invasive surgery, cardiothoracic, pediatric surgery, breast, transplant, hand, critical care, plastics, and endocrine surgery at places like Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, Vanderbilt, Duke, McGill, Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinic. Still others have immediately joined academic or private practice general surgery groups, started a general surgery practice in the military, pursued research interests, or done international work for Doctors without Borders.

The People

The true strength of our residency lies in its people. We sometimes refer to our own residency as a family. Although we all came from different backgrounds and with different experiences, we support, guide, instruct, encourage, congratulate, and console each other through the rigors of the training process. It is this close-knit environment that draws many of our own graduates to come back to practice surgery at Baystate.

Baystate offers the personal and professional development, training, research, and subspecialty exposure available at an academic center and these will stay with you for the rest of your career. At the heart of all of this, however, the surgical administration, surgeons, physician-assistants, nurses, and fellow residents are what really make Baystate special. The friendships and memories you develop here will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Wishing you luck in your pursuits,

Peter Wu, MD