Phase III

Phase III of Meridian’s SFA Online Program consists of the following:


Clinical Externship is the third phase of the course, in which each student must complete 140 cases in the following areas:

1. General Surgery: Minimum of 20 cases
2. Minimum of 120 various specialties cases

All cases must be done with a Board Certified MD, DO, DPM or a Meridian-approved Surgical Assistant preceptor (CSFA or CSA). Students will fill out case logs on a daily basis, as well as secure preceptor agreement forms and evaluations.

(Suggested additional specialties)

1. Pediatric surgery 7. Genitourinary surgery
2. Neurosurgery 8. Trauma surgery
3. Hand surgery 9. Transplant surgery
4. Plastic surgery 10. Ear, nose, and throat surgery
5. Obstetric and Gynecologic surgery 11. Cardiovascular surgery
6. Thoracic surgery 12. Orthopedic surgery


Clinical Externship is intended to provide training and clinical practice in basic surgical skills applicable to the student surgical first assistant. Thus, the following are required:

1. Completion of 140 cases as specified in various specialties of surgery.
2. Training under direct supervision and guidance of a qualified preceptor or Surgeon.
3. Externship must be completed within one year of beginning program, which is considered to be the date when the first quiz is logged into the academic program. In addition, the academic modules, as well as the applied sciences lab, must be completed prior to starting preceptorship.


1. Must be proficient in all areas of surgery.
2. Must be either

2.1  a surgeon that is Board certified or Board eligible.
2.2  a surgical assistant that has been credentialed for a minimum of 3 years as a CSFA or CSA.

3. Must be honest and uphold the highest level of integrity when evaluating student and filling out necessary forms. If found otherwise, all cases supervised by this preceptor will not count towards completion.
4. Must be willing to spend needed time with student to share technical skills and knowledge about case, anatomy, etc.


1. Student shall abide by all hospital policies and rules while in facility.
2. Student will conduct himself/herself in a professional manner at all times.
3. Student must accept constructive criticism while maintaining a positive attitude. He/she will avoid confrontational attitude with preceptor or surrounding staff.
4. Student will handle concerns/complaints with preceptor first, concerning clinical time. If not addressed to student’s satisfaction, concern may be brought to educator’s attention and grievance process will ensue only if necessary.
5. Student shall converse and report to preceptor at the end of each day to gauge progress of preceptorship.


1. Upon completion of the first 10 cases, the student will be able to tie both deep and superficially while providing basic exposure, adequately positioning patient appropriate to procedure, and maintaining sterile technique upon catheterizing patient.
2. Upon completion of 15 cases, the student will be able to perform basic tissue handling, advanced tying (around a hemostat, and suture ligatures), and provide appropriate exposure for surgeon.
3. Upon completion of 20 cases, the student will be able to perform all basic skills outlined in the scope of practice found in handbook. The student should use the next 90 cases to refine his/her skills.