Neurologic Surgery Residency (Minnesota)
The seven-year Neurologic Surgery Residency Program provides a rigorous, comprehensive surgical training experience, designed to produce the highest-caliber academic and clinical neurosurgeons. This residency is intellectually and technically challenging, with high expectations and standards for its trainees. At the same time it fosters a sense of camaraderie and accomplishment emanating from the collective talent and dedication of residents and staff at Mayo Clinic.
While the emphasis is on training academic neurosurgeons, the Neurologic Surgery Residency Program provides the versatility to train residents for careers in either academia or private practice. The program provides the resident with a solid foundation in basic neuroscience with opportunities for basic neuroscience and clinical research, and the option to pursue an advanced degree in neuroscience and neurosurgery.
Above all, it offers unparalleled experience by combining clinical material and training with a faculty of innovative neurosurgeons who are skilled clinicians and experts in the various subspecialty disciplines of neurosurgery.
The Clinician Investigator Program is available to residents who wish to prepare for an academic career that contains research as a significant component. This competitive program provides support for an additional one to two years of research outside of the usual scheduled resident rotations.
Upon completion, a certificate in Clinical Investigation for a Master’s Degree in Neurosurgery is awarded.
Clinical Research Training Program
The Clinical Research Training Program is designed to train future investigators in clinical research through a curriculum of courses in clinical research methods complemented by mentor based training in the research environment. Options exist for a Master's Degree in Clinical Research or a shorter program awarding a Certificate in Clinical Research.
There is a formalized option available to neurosurgical residents for obtaining a Ph.D. in Molecular Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, or Molecular Physiology which requires a minimum of two or three years of study and research, culminating in a Ph.D. thesis. These Ph.D. programs have been constructed to allow maximum flexibility, so the specific courses and laboratory work can be tailored to the specific aims and needs of the doctoral candidate as determined by an advisory and mentorship committee. This program, offered in conjunction with Mayo Graduate School , should be strongly considered by those neurosurgical residents interested in obtaining advanced basic science experience for a future career in academic neurosurgery.
Case Studies and Teaching Opportunities
There are mandatory one hour teaching conferences five days a week from 7-8 a.m., which focus on both general and subspecialty neurosurgical interests. The subspecialty conferences include vascular, spine, epilepsy, neuro-oncology and neuroradiology. These are held in conjunction with the appropriate medical and radiological services.
Neurosurgery residents also regularly prepare case study presentations for the neurosurgery conferences. Presentations include a summary of the pertinent information of the study case, a discussion of the condition and its management with the perspectives gained from review of the pertinent literature.
Neurosurgery residents also have the opportunity to teach Mayo Medical School students and visiting students from other medical schools through bedside instruction and formal didactic lectures. There is a Skull Base Laboratory for dissection and also a Microvascular Training Laboratory. Each resident is required to complete courses in these laboratories before graduation.
Call schedules will vary by individual rotation. The Mayo Clinic Department of Neurosurgery follows the duty hour guidelines of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
All residents share the in-house emergency call assignments equally during the time that they are assigned to clinical neurosurgery service, as well as during certain elective and basic science rotations. Therefore the frequency of a resident actually being in the hospital overnight to cover trauma and the emergency room is modest.
Residents on clinical neurosurgery services are expected to respond to calls regarding their own patients throughout the day and night. In-hospital night call covering emergencies occurs on average one out of every 10 to 13 days as does "backup call," which is typically taken from home.
Neurosurgery residents may choose a clinical rotation to Mayo Clinic in Florida or Mayo Clinic in Arizona during their neurosurgery residency. Mayo Clinic funds the authorized additional costs for travel, housing, automobile rental and licensure fees.
These rotations have routinely been approved by the American Board of Neurological Surgery as an elective rotation with educational merit. There is significant training advantages to rotating at these Mayo practices for additional subspecialty expertise training, notably in vascular and complex spine surgery. The cumulative case volume at Mayo Clinic in Florida and Mayo Clinic in Arizona available for training is approximately 3,500 cases.
To ensure that residents are "on track" in their acquisition of the neurosurgical competencies, resident performance is carefully monitored during the course of the residency. After each three-month clinical rotation, residents are evaluated formally by the supervising faculty members. Additionally, residents meet individually with the chair and program director on an annual basis to discuss performance and career goals to better construct that resident’s training program.
Each resident is expected to take the written examination of the American Board of Neurological Surgery during their PGY-2 and PGY-3 years for self-assessment and for credit during their PGY-4 year. Residents are required to pass the examination at a 75% or higher level before being qualified for the chief resident year. Should the resident have special educational needs, a special educational experience can be made available to overcome deficiencies.
As part of our regular examination of residents to monitor their progress and also help prepare for the future oral Board examination, annual oral examinations in clinical neurosurgery and neurology are administered. The format is similar to that of the certifying oral examination given by the American Board of Neurological Surgery after completion of training. Feedback from the program director and director of resident education is provided.
An electronic case log program tracks all resident operative cases. The case volume and mixture is carefully analyzed to insure that each resident is obtaining in-depth expert surgical training. If there appears to be weaknesses, the resident’s rotations are adjusted.
Residents are encouraged to meet formally and informally with the departmental faculty and the departmental chair to discuss career goals. The department Chairman takes a direct interest in tailoring the resident’s training program to career objectives and actively participates in job searches on behalf of the residents. Mayo Clinic neurosurgery residents have been highly successful in competing for positions in either academic or private practice, consistent with their individual goals.