Angela Gucwa

Administrative Chief Resident in General Surgery

Angela Gucwa

During her residency at the Medical College of Georgia, Angela Gucwa worked as a research resident. As a clinical researcher, Angela Gucwa collaborated on many different studies, several of which have subsequently been published in scientific journals, such as the American Journal of Surgery. Of particular research interest to Angela Gucwa are studies about PET/CT findings and virtual patient education programs. Angela Gucwa believes that all clinical surgeons can benefit from spending some time on the research side of the field.

Angela Gucwa: Realize a Lifelong Dream

After more than ten years of rigorous medical education, Angela Gucwa is about to realize a lifelong dream. The vascular surgery fellow will be completing her fellowship in the Greenville Health System in just a few months, and looks forward to completing her vascular surgery boards so that she can begin practicing independently.


“It feels surreal,” Angela Gucwa acknowledged. “I started medical school in 2002, then residency in 2006, and it’s only in 2014 that I will be truly headed out on my own as a surgeon.”


Angela Gucwa completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Georgia in Athens, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2002 with a degree in biology. By then she had decided on surgery as a career. After UGA Angela Gucwa went on to Medical College of Georgia. “I was pre-med in undergrad,” Angela Gucwa recalled, “which meant a lot of time in the lab and not a lot of fun, but the hours spent over organic chemistry problem sets was well worth it. I’m a surgeon now, and that’s always been my goal.”


Before coming to the Greenville Health System, Angela Gucwa was a resident at the Medical College of Georgia. Angela Gucwa completed both a general surgery residency and spent time as a research resident. “I found research really rewarding,” said Angela Gucwa. “I published some interesting papers as a researcher – even the ones on carbohydrates – and doing research gave me a new approach to surgery. It made me more interested in the process, rather than just the results.”

Angela Gucwa: Residency at the Medical College of Georgia

Angela Gucwa completed her surgical fellowship through the Greenville Health System, and will be starting as a vascular surgeon in June of 2014. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Georgia, and attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.


From there, Angela Gucwa began her residency at the Medical College of Georgia with Georgia Regents University. Angela Gucwa is currently completing her fellowship in the Greenville Health System.


It is a long and difficult journey to become a surgeon. However, Angela Gucwa knows that the journey is just beginning. Now that she is near completing her fellowship and will soon be accredited as a full surgeon, the stakes are higher than ever, as patients begin putting their lives in her hands. Despite the pressure, Angela Gucwa knows that the experience that she has gained from her fellowship through the Greenville Health System, as well as her prior education, will assist her in this process.


Angela Gucwa has wished to be a surgeon for a very long time. She is excited that 2014 will bring the fruition of her dreams and looks forward to helping thousands of patients throughout the length of her long career. “I’m really interested in experiencing the fast-paced world of medicine in a metropolitan center,” Angela Gucwa says. “I’ve practiced mostly in more suburban areas.”


With the completion of her fellowship fast approaching, Angela Gucwa believes she has cultivated the necessary skills to become a highly skilled and successful surgeon. “I’ve worked with immensely talented and well recognized doctors and that work has given me a real sense of confidence in my work as a surgeon.”

Angela Gucwa: Fully Certified Vascular Surgeon

Angela Gucwa is completing a long journey from student to surgeon in the summer of 2014, when she becomes a fully certified vascular surgeon.


Vascular surgery involves the diagnosis and management of disorders of the arterial, venous and lymphatic systems, not including the intracranial vessels and the heart.


In addition to her hands-on experience as a surgeon, Angela Gucwa has done extensive scientific research and writing related to this specialty. Her research has appeared in the American Journal of Surgery and Carbohydrate Research, and she made contributions to the book ACS Surgery: Principles and Practices, both of which are highly regarded in the field. Topics that Angela Gucwa has written about include the following PET/CT findings, virtual patient simulators, and breast procedures.


Spending some time on this research part has been very important to Angela Gucwa. While she is primarily a clinical surgeon, the amount of time that she has spent working with others in order to further the body of knowledge associated with procedures has been extremely educational.


Angela Gucwa knows that the future of clinical procedures depends on the research that is completed today. The cutting edge processes that are currently going on in surgical rooms across the country are only possible due to the amount of research that has gone into them. Angela Gucwa feels that the time that she spent researching and collaborating with other surgeons and doctors in order to deepen understanding into important medical matters is a strong step forward for science and will pave the way for more complex and succinct patient care.

Angela Gucwa, Completing Surgical Fellowship in the Greenville Health System

After completing medical school and residency, the next step for a young doctor is to complete a fellowship. Angela Gucwa has had the fortune of completing her surgical fellowship through the Greenville Health System. She will be starting as a vascular surgeon in June of 2014.


The process of becoming a vascular surgeon is a long and arduous one. Angela Gucwa has been working toward this goal ever since she started as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, Athens in 2002. After completing her undergraduate degree in biology cum laude, she then went on to attend the Medical College of Georgia. After this, it is required for medical students to complete a residency, which she did through the Medical College of Georgia with Georgia Regents University. Finally, Angela Gucwa is currently completing her fellowship in the Greenville Health System.


It is a long and arduous journey to become a surgeon. However, Angela Gucwa knows that the journey is just beginning. Now that she is near completing her fellowship and will soon be accredited as a full surgeon, the stakes are higher than ever as thousands of people will soon be putting their lives in her hands. Despite the pressure, Angela Gucwa knows that the experience that she has gained from her fellowship through the Greenville Health System, as well as her prior education, will assist her in this process.


Angela Gucwa has wished to be a surgeon for a very long time. She is excited that 2014 will bring the fruition of her dreams and looks forward to helping thousands of patients throughout the length of her long career.

7 Years with American College of Surgeons: Angela Gucwa

Angela Gucwa believes strongly in professional networking. Particularly in a field like medicine, it is important to be connected with politically powerful people so that knowledge and talent can be supported. Just recently, Angela Gucwa has celebrated spending seven years with the American College of Surgeons.


The American College of Surgeons is a professional organization that is dedicated to the networking needs of surgeons. Angela Gucwa has been mentored by the American College of Surgeons, and much of her success today she attributes to the amazing people that she met through this group.


In addition to networking and meeting several talented individuals through the American College of Surgeons, Angela Gucwa also served on the Education Committee and the Young Surgeons Committee. She feels very strongly about giving back to the organization that is helping her get on her feet as a young surgeon.


Angela Gucwa has been a member of the American College of Surgeons ever since she graduated from medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in 2006. Since then, she has been extremely successful in research and publication, and will soon be board eligible for vascular surgery.


Angela Gucwa encourages other surgeons to consider joining a professional organization like the American College of Surgeons. It is important to have a foothold politically and to have people know who you are in addition to your talent you would be to bringing to the table. Angela Gucwa has the talent and the ability to network well with those around her, which will give her a distinct advantage in the world of medicine.

Medical Researcher Angela Gucwa

With a future as a surgeon who primarily specializes in vascular procedures, Angela Gucwa will be responsible for saving many lives. However, Angela Gucwa would like to shed light on the importance of medical research. Lives are not just saved on the operating table; rather, they are also saved in the laboratory and through years of extensive research in order to prevent disease and optimize procedures.


Angela Gucwa has done extensive scientific research and writing in addition to her hands-on experience as a surgeon. Her publications include contributions to the American Journal of Surgery and Carbohydrate Research, as well as an appearance in the book ACS Surgery: Principles and Practices, both of which are highly regarded in the field. Topics that Angela Gucwa has written about include the following: PET/CT findings, virtual patient simulators, and breast procedures.


Spending some time on the research part of the field was very important to Angela Gucwa. While she is primarily a clinical surgeon, the amount of time that she has spent working with others in order to further the body of knowledge associated with procedures has been extremely rewarding and eye opening.


Angela Gucwa knows that the future of clinical procedures depends on the research that is completed today. The cutting edge processes that are currently going on in surgical rooms across the country are only possible due to the amount of research that has gone into them. Angela Gucwa feels that the time that she spent researching and collaborating with other surgeons and doctors in order to deepen understanding into important medical matters is a strong step forward for science and will pave the way for more complex and succinct patient care.

Preparing a Conference Presentation: Notes from Angela Gucwa

Giving your first conference presentation can be very stressful, but for Angela Gucwa, these presentations have become second nature. Angela Gucwa has been regularly giving conference presentations since 2008, and has given at least nineteen presentations at various conferences and on a wide range of topics. Angela Gucwa offers some tips for conference presentations that can help you feel confident and prepared.


ª Dress the part. Angela Gucwa emphasizes that you should always wear business dress to a conference. Looking like a professional will help you feel like a professional. Keep professional outfits simple – you don’t want to be worrying about whether the pattern on your shirt is too loud while talking to a colleague, explains Angela Gucwa.

ª Write notes, but not a speech. Many conference presenters simply read straight from a paper as though there is no audience there. As long as you feel comfortable, you are better off sketching broad notes and an order of discussion. This will make your presentation much more dynamic and keep listeners engaged throughout the presentation, says Angela Gucwa.

Time yourself. At any conference you will be given a time limit for your talk. Practice your speech several times at home to make sure it stays within the limit, says Angela Gucwa. It is unprofessional and disrespectful to take up other people’s time by going over the limit. Angela Gucwa also notes that you should pay attention to the speed at which you give your talk – it will probably be faster on the day of your speech because of your nerves.

Angela Gucwa Differentiates Between PET/CT Findings

Angela Gucwa is a vascular surgery fellow in the Greenville Health System in Greenville, South Carolina. Before her tenure at Greenville began, however, Angela Gucwa did significant research work involving PET/CT scanning. Angela Gucwa is also the co-author of several papers involving these studies and the papers have been published in such prestigious places as the American Journal of Surgery.


Several of Angela Gucwa’s articles mention PET and CT scans in parallel, but what is the difference between the two? PET and CT scans have two entirely different purposes. However, they are often used at the same time to produce a broader range of diagnostic information.


PET stands for positron emission tomography. This kind of testing takes several hours, according to Angela Gucwa, and involves using a radioactive tracer to measure different metabolic processes within the body. PET scans involve exposure to a large amount of radiation.


CT stands for computed topography and is used to establish anatomical landmarks. It is more similar to an MRI in function, says Angela Gucwa. CT scans take only a few minutes, and uses radiation to map bone and other structural components of the body. Together, explains Angela Gucwa, doctors can get a complete sense of what is happening in the body at both the structural and molecular levels.


In her work, Angela Gucwa has used PET/CT scanning and interrogated the issue of what is known as incidental findings. These are findings on a scan that are unrelated to the reason the scan was performed and may or may not be harmful to the individual. Angela Gucwa’s work examines doctor’s discretion in deciding what to do when such findings occur.

Angela Gucwa on Common Pre-Med Requirements

When Angela Gucwa was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, Athens, she was a biology major. But as someone who desired to be a surgeon some day, Angela Gucwa knew that being a bio major wasn’t going to be enough to prepare her for medical school. Instead, Angela Gucwa inquired with her school about pre-med requirements when she began her undergraduate coursework. By completing the most common pre-med requirements, Angela Gucwa smoothed her way towards medical school.


People typically associate biology with medicine, but there are other educational arenas that are equally important. Along with her biology coursework, Angela Gucwa took two semesters of lab chemistry, as well as two semesters of organic chemistry, a particularly challenging subject, but one of the most important topics for a future medical students, says Angela Gucwa.


Physics and math are also expected parts of a thorough pre-med education. Two semesters of each of these subjects, including physics labs as well, says Angela Gucwa, are typically recommended both by undergraduate programs and medical schools.


Perhaps the most surprising requirement in a pre-med education, notes Angela Gucwa, is the English or composition requirement. Many future doctors don’t realize the importance of the humanities in teaching critical thinking and good communication. Taking an English class is one of the best ways of improving clarity and concision, two characteristics that will benefit you as a doctor talking to patients, says Angela Gucwa. Indeed, students who have majored in the humanities but also completed laboratory science requirements often bring diversity and new perspectives to medical school classrooms. However, as Angela Gucwa observed, not every medical student majored in the sciences.

Lab Science or Medicine? Considerations from Angela Gucwa

During her time as a surgical resident, Angela Gucwa also spent a year working as a research resident. For Angela Gucwa, part of this impulse was to experience the other side of the medical world, the side that she thought could also be the right fit for her. How do you choose between lab science and a clinical career? Some doctors balance this by doing clinical trials, but for many doctors there is a larger distinction at stake between doctors who work with patients and researchers who are confined to the lab. Angela Gucwa offers some considerations on deciding which field is right for you.


One primary consideration in choosing between lab science and clinical medicine is the question of bedside manner, says Angela Gucwa. For some people, the ability to be calm and direct yet have an empathetic presence at the bedside is extremely difficult. For others, giving bad news, such as the death of a family member, is simply out of the question. Consider these types of situations, says Angela Gucwa, and determine how you would handle these situations. Being overly brusque at the bedside or overly tearful with grieving families may make you a better candidate for the lab.


Another consideration when choosing between the lab and clinical medicine has to do with the kind of schedule and life you would like to have, says Angela Gucwa. People who are seeking a more regular, easy to schedule family life are better off in the lab because clinical medicine simply will not accommodate that lifestyle, explains Angela Gucwa.

Angela Gucwa on Support for Female Doctors

In undergraduate institutions, women are quickly outpacing men in admissions and graduations. However, being a female doctor can still be a significant challenge. Sexism can be pervasive in the medical profession, as Angela Gucwa found out as a young doctor. Many women doctors are tracked out of the most intensive and competitive fields, says Angela Gucwa, because they are assumed to want families, therefore making them unavailable for more round-the-clock roles. Female physicians call this being “mommy tracked,” according to Angela Gucwa. However, Angela Gucwa resisted this tracking and is preparing to complete her fellowship in a highly demanding field – vascular surgery.


Angela Gucwa encourages all young women doctors to reach out to their other female classmates for support and seek older women doctors as mentors. One formal way to do this is through the American Medical Women’s Association. Angela Gucwa was a member of the American Medical Women’s Association from 2002 to 2003 while she was acclimating to the intense competition of the medical school world. Working with this professional organization helped Angela Gucwa to gain confidence in herself as a female physician and empowered her to pursue surgery as a career.


There is surprisingly little formalized support for female doctors within other professional associations or at the regional level, says Angela Gucwa. Instead, she would like to see practicing female physicians encourage other young female doctors and helping them to pursue the fields that truly interest them, regardless of being tracked into motherhood or otherwise hindered by obligations.

The Most Common Surgical Procedures: Notes from Angela Gucwa

As a surgical resident, Angela Gucwa participated in a wide range of surgical procedures. Some of these procedures occurred over and over again, becoming the regular medical cast of characters that populated the operating room. For example, caesarean sections are one of the most common surgical procedures performed in any hospital, as are a variety of biopsies in which tissue samples are taken.


One common but complicated surgery that Angela Gucwa witnessed regularly as a surgical resident was coronary artery bypass surgery. In this type of surgery, explains Angela Gucwa, vein segments are transplanted to allow blood to flow around an artery that has become blocked due to built up plaques. These veins are typically taken out of the leg.


Another surgery that is unfortunately common according to Angela Gucwa is mastectomies, both partial and total. A mastectomy is the removal of breast tissue, typically performed to eradicate breast cancer. In some cases where there is significant family history, says Angela Gucwa, a prophylactic mastectomy may be performed in which breast tissue is removed to prevent the occurrence of cancer. Along with mastectomies also come reconstruction surgeries, notes Angela Gucwa. Reconstruction surgeries help women regain a sense of normalcy after what is often life-changing surgery.


Finally, among the list of common surgeries are the ones everyone knows as a kid: appendectomies and tonsillectomies. Angela Gucwa notes that appendectomies have decreased in frequencies with improved imaging techniques and testing, but tonsillectomies continue to be a common childhood surgery, says Angela Gucwa, often to prevent re-occurring strep infections.

New Virtual Patient Education Programs with Angela Gucwa

Angela Gucwa is a surgical fellow with the Greenville Health System and a major supporter of virtual patient education programs for doctors in training. In fact, during her time as a surgical resident at the Medical College of Georgia, Angela Gucwa participated in a joint effort with engineers and computer scientists to develop a better virtual patient program. Angela Gucwa has also published several journal articles about these virtual patient training programs, particularly as they relate to taking breast concern histories and providing breast exams.


One specific program that Angela Gucwa worked on as a surgical resident at the Medical College of Georgia was a pilot program intended to integrate a virtual patient with breast complaints and in need of a breast exam into already existing virtual training programs. Angela Gucwa also presented the paper derived from this project with her coauthors at the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Surgeons.


Of particular interest to Angela Gucwa as a young woman surgeon was a study she participated in that compared male and female doctor’s responses to this type of virtual breast complaint situation. Angela Gucwa presented the results of this immersive study to the Association of Women Surgeons, a professional group that specifically centers women’s concerns in the profession.


One particularly innovative virtual system is something known as the “touch map.” Touch map technologies provide auto-feedback to the young doctors working with them. Angela Gucwa participated in a study that examined the use of these touch maps in training doctors to perform breast exams.

Angela Gucwa on Why You Should Join Professional Organizations

Angela Gucwa is a member of a number of different professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the Society for Vascular Surgery, and the Southern Association of Vascular Surgery. Angela Gucwa always aims to belong to a range of field appropriate professional associations because these groups provide a variety of different resources that have benefited her as a young doctor.


One reason that Angela Gucwa thinks that everyone should join professional associations is that they are the best way to network. Because the majority of any given field will belong to the appropriate professional organization, meetings and conferences are the best place to network by far. Angela Gucwa has been able to establish numerous collegial relationships with professionals across the country. Many older members of the field that Angela Gucwa has met through professional organizations have stepped up to serve as mentors to the young surgeon as well.


Another valuable resource available through professional organizations, says Angela Gucwa, is continuing education programs. These programs are vital for doctors who are trying to stay on top of an ever-changing field, but continuing education is a benefit to professionals in any field. Whether it’s an introduction to a new technology or a new theoretical frame, there is always more to learn.


As Angela Gucwa is learning as she finishes up her surgical fellowships, a final reason to join professional organizations is that they are the best way to hear about job openings. Make sure you are on your organization’s listserv, says Angela Gucwa, and it will keep you in the loop about all the news and job openings in your field.

Common Breast Procedures with Angela Gucwa

Angela Gucwa is a vascular surgery fellow with additional specialty work on breast procedures. Indeed, she is one of several authors of a book chapter on breast procedures. If your doctors are concerned about an irregularity in your breast tissue, there are several different procedures they might order. Angela Gucwa explains some of those procedures here.


Breast Ultrasonography: Most of us are familiar with ultrasound technology, says Angela Gucwa. Just like with a pregnant woman’s womb, a breast ultrasound is used to see beneath the surface of the skin. This procedure is most often ordered to gain more information about palpable masses, as well as for pre-op and post-op evaluations of various issues, explains Angela Gucwa.


Breast Biopsy: Breast biopsies are extremely common procedures used to take a sample of cells for testing, explains Angela Gucwa. Most commonly, breast biopsy is done using a technique called core needle biopsy because it is minimally invasive and provides good results in cytological testing, says Angela Gucwa.


Partial Mastectomy: According to Angela Gucwa, this procedure is also known as a lumpectomy. Where a confined mass is located, a partial mastectomy can be performed to remove all cancerous tissue. Angela Gucwa explains that the goal of a partial mastectomy is to prevent a local reoccurrence of cancerous tissue.


Breast Reconstruction: When a partial mastectomy or complete mastectomy takes place, it is possible to reshape the breast using implant tissue to achieve a normal appearance, says Angela Gucwa. Many women who undergo some type of mastectomy will also undergo breast reconstruction.

Contact Angela Gucwa

Angela Gucwa lives by the medical school axiom: see one, do one, teach one. As such, during the June 2008 to July 2009 medical school year, while Angela Gucwa was a surgical resident at the Medical College of Georgia, she served as an instructor of general surgery for Phase I and Phase III medical students. Angela Gucwa believes that her experience as a medical school instructor has made her a more skilled and confident surgeon than she was before.