Riley Stewart

January 2017

University of Dalhousie

Q1) It is your Chief year! Did you ever believe this year would come? How would you reflect on the journey overall thus far?

Last year in residency; it really went by in no time. It’s pretty amazing to look at the new PGY-1’s and to reflect on how much residency teaches you. Exams coming up though, still so much knowledge to gain. It’s been a great time though.

riley stewart surgeon

Q2) So what is next? Where are you off to in July? Have you already lined up a job or a fellowship or are you still keeping your options open?

In July 2017 I’ll be starting an MIS fellowship at Dal.

Q3) What are you going to miss the most about residency?

Someone under you doing the scut work?! Joking. The comradery with likeminded people working through the same intense training. People to vent frustrations with and share in many good laughs.

Q4) Where did you go to medical school and how did you come about the decision to specialize in General Surgery? Was it something you gradually got into or is there an “aha” moment from your background or training?

I went to Dalhousie medical school. Prior to that I did an undergrad in Kinesiology. I always knew I wanted to do surgery but with the kinesiology background I thought I would want to do orthopedic surgery. I did an elective in Ortho in first year medical school and knew that was out. I tried general surgery next and immediately knew that’s what I wanted to be doing; sick patients, diverse diseases and surgeries, and a real chance to make a difference.

Q5) Where did you grow up and what did you do in your life before medicine? Not just professionally, but did you have any hobbies or passions that you still pursue?

I grew up in Halifax, finished high school in Ottawa and did undergrad and grad school at the University of Waterloo. I spent a lot of time playing pool and soccer growing up and continued soccer through most of medical school. I picked up squash late in University and that is my go to physical activity in residency.

Q6) What is the most memorable thing that you have done outside of surgery in the last five years?

My wife and daughter occupy the vast majority of my free time outside of surgery. My wedding, the birth of my daughter and many other family times are a continued source of lasting memories for me.

riley steward doctor surgeon scrub caps

Q7) Do you have any call superstitions or routines?

I’m not very superstitious. I have no routines on call per se, I do feel that a slow on call night is followed by a busy one so I tend to find out what the previous night was like when I’m on call.

Q8) If you could give some words of wisdom to new Residents starting General Surgery (or to your past self on the first day of residency) in the light of everything we’re facing these days across Canada (limited jobs, duty hour restrictions, more and more specialization), what would it be?

My only advice is don’t take any experience for granted. It’s easy to let things early in residency pass thinking you’ll get more chances. See as much as you can.

Q9) Rapid fire:

What do you listen to in the OR?

Whatever the staff listens to. When it’s my turn to decide probably nothing. I like music to relax. Silence helps me focus.

What is the operation you dislike the most?

I don’t really care for hepatectomies.

What is the operation you like the most?

Lap Chole.

What is your favourite medical TV show?

I don’t watch much TV now, when I was in my late teens I watched ER.

What is your go-to surgery textbook?

Mastery of Surgery.

Favourite post-call activity?

Gym, or hang out with my wife & daughter.

What is your favourite “go-to” food on call?

ICU snack bar: pop, chocolate, chips.

White coat or hoodie?


Single or Double glove?

Double glove: 1 for me and 1 for Hep C.

Dry scrub or wet scrub?

Wet Scrub.

Trauma laparotomy or elective Whipple?

Whipple – great dissection.

Inexperienced junior resident or inexperienced ER staff?

Inexperience junior resident any day of the week.

Open inguinal hernia repair or laparoscopic?

Laparoscopic Hernia (or any surgery for that matter)

Monocryl or skin staples?

Monocryl unless for big midline

Perianal abscess I+D or ingrown toenail?????

Perianal Abscess I & D – So satisfying.