HMC Department of Surgery

Course Overview

smallPS logo The Division of Plastic Surgery welcomes UW School of Medicine and visiting fourth year medical students to a diversity of plastic surgery experiences at Harborview Medical Center.

This is part of a four week course with one and a half weeks at Harborview, half a week at VA Seattle and one week each at UW Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

There are two distinct Harborview plastic surgery teams, on which each medical student will serve:  Gold and Purple.  Gold service is comprised of the craniofacial trauma, burn reconstruction and Dr. Nicholas Vedder’s hand service.  Purple service is comprised of Dr. Kari Keys’ general reconstruction and the rest of the hand team service.

We require attendance at our Wednesday morning conference, however there is no on call requirement or presentation requirement.

Goals and Objectives

  • Discuss the workup and management of facial trauma, burns, cleft lip and cleft palate, head and neck cancer, skin tumors, and surgical problems of the hand.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform a focused history and physical examination emphasizing the skin and soft tissues.
  • Discuss fundamental techniques of plastic surgery, including the use of skin grafts, pedicled and free flaps, microvascular techniques, and management of complex wounds.
  • In the operating room, demonstrate and sharpen skills in basic surgical techniques such as knot-tying, suturing, and limited dissection.
  • At the completion of the clerkship experience, be able to identify conditions that warrant referral to a plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

Welcome Message

Welcome to your Plastic Surgery Rotation, we are pleased that you have chosen to spend a month with us.

You will be rotating through 4 hospitals, one location per week, and will interact with all the attending physicians in the division.  One of these weeks is split between the VA and Harborview.  Here is the explanation: HMC PURPLE/VA WEEK:  You are on HMC PURPLE Service Monday-Wednesday and at the VA Thursday and Friday. **You will not take any call during this rotation.


First Day

All students go to Children’s Hospital on the first day of rotation to complete on-boarding separately from UW.  Seattle Children’s Coordinator, Sara Fear, will contact you prior to your rotation. Please register for your entire stay not just the 1 week shown in your schedule. Have your current medical school ID on you at ALL times!


Hospital Badging

UWMC ID Badge: if you have never rotated at UWMC before and need a badge

  • UWSOM Students: Please contact the SOM Academic Affairs office to see if there is one already printed. Office is A300 and phone number is 543-5560. If there are additional questions please contact Laura Yale (, the Medical Student Program Administrator.
  • Visiting Students: You will be given a temporary prox card for access, as well as a UWMC ID badge. Please pick these cards up in the badging office on the Basement Level.

Harborview ID Badge: if you need a Harborview badge, I will drop off the badge slips to the Badging Office on the First Floor Center Tower, you can obtain your badge on the first week you will be rotating at HMC.

Once you’ve received your HMC badge, please email me your badge number on the back side of the card. This will be necessary to provide you access.


Parking and Transportation

Most sites are limited on parking so please review the following commuting links and feel free to ask our residents for tips.


Clerkship Requirements

Please dress in business casual during your rotations, but make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Conferences Wednesday mornings 6:30-8AM in Harborview Medical Center’s Research & Training Building room #117. You will not be presenting at conference during your rotation.


Please contact Eva Childers, Medical Student Coordinator,, if you are interested in applying to our resident program. If you do seek an interview while rotating here at UW, know that by interviewing while here, you forfeit the opportunity to be invited back during the formal interview days.


Course evaluations are based on:

  • Performance and participation in the clinic and the O/R
  • Fund of knowledge demonstrated in the O/R and outpatient clinics
  • Eagerness to learn/participate


For visiting students: if your institution has a required evaluation form please e-mail me the form and/or any instructions.


Link to program details