Surgical residency: A tenants view

Author Information

M. Mutebi, MBChB, Surgery Resident, Aga Khan University.

Corresponding author:

Dr. M. Mutebi, P.O. Box 30270, Nairobi, kenya Email:

‘To sleep: perchance to dream’, is the frequent mantra of the surgical resident. However, unlike Hamlet, there is no ensuing speculation as to what dreams may come as there are seldom any!! Surgical residency has been both vilified and immortalized, but the fact remains that it is one of the most challenging, provocative and vibrant times of one’s life. Surgery is one of the few professions where one is given a narrow time slice into our patients’ lives, in which we can use our skills to effect good, and ensure that the rest of the pie remains in good working order.

A Quixotean ideal? Residency has been defined as an immortal period where one is suspended in the limbo that gives one the powers to operate, the hindsight to know that one shouldn’t have, and the opportunity to learn from one’s errors and improve. This does indeed come with great responsibility.  Different rotations provide insights into diverse fields, and help one grow considerably.

The neurosurgery rotation provides an interesting (frequently literal!) insight into our patient’s minds. There is the local resident alcoholic who will always stumble in (or will be carried in) following the odd pint of beer (never believe this!), which has been guaranteed to shave at least three points off any self-respecting coma score! After his requisite overnight snooze, he’ll then proceed to loudly reclaim any lost points that may have been dropped post imbibing.


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


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ISSN (print): 1999-9674; ISSN (online): 2523-0816

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