Eoin Flanagan, M.D.
What attracted you to medicine and neurology?
I have always enjoyed the atmosphere around hospitals and amongst its staff. For this reason, and being a keen student of science in school, I was attracted to a career in medicine. I am a person who always asks questions and soon after arriving in medical school, I discovered that the nervous system was the area of medicine with the most questions and fewest answers. I wanted to know more. Using the neurological exam to localize the problem is unique to neurology and something that enticed me to the specialty. Establishing the cause of the neurological deficit is more difficult. I have entered neurology residency to become proficient at determining what is the location and etiology of the neurological disease afflicting the patient. I know Mayo Clinic will provide me with the training to best answer these questions in my future practice.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
In Ireland I completed a three year medical residency. It involved a 6 month visiting resident rotation at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. After a few weeks at Mayo I was hooked. What I liked most was the remarkable care the patients received and how much collaboration there was across all specialties. It was not unusual to pick up the phone and call a world expert in a specific disease for advice relevant and beneficial to your patient. Everybody is extremely helpful and there are no egos. For example, when seeing a neuro-oncology patient, the neurosurgeon and neurologist evaluate the patient together. If there is a radiological question, the neurologist and neurosurgeon will go down to the neuroradiology department to discuss the case. The teamwork is superb and of great benefit to the patient. I am delighted that after completing my medical residency I got the opportunity to join the Mayo team.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Adult Neurology Residency unique?
The primary aim I had in joining a residency program was to become an excellent neurologist. The residency program has fulfilled all my expectations and more. In the neurology department there is a big focus on education. There are a wide variety of educational programs including lectures, didactics, clinical exam teaching, neuroscience and neuroanatomy courses to name but a few. The opportunities to learn are endless. Mayo clinic has certainly delivered on my main goal starting residency. Myself and my fellow residents will all be prepared to practice and excel in neurology after our training at Mayo.
Anything surprise you about Mayo’s program?
1. The research opportunities. While Mayo Clinic is most famous for its superb patient care, the quality of research in the department of neurology is world renowned. This serves residents wishing to get involved in projects well. The faculty in all sections of neurology is very approachable. There are hundreds of projects ongoing in the department and the residents are encouraged to participate. There are multiple opportunities to present at national conferences. I have been fortunate enough to present a poster at the American Neurology Association meeting twice so far in my residency. The neurology department is very supportive of such scholarly activities. With the drive and enthusiasm of the residents and faculty projects invariably result in publication.
2. The amount of exposure we have to common neurological conditions. While it is true that we see some rare conditions at Mayo, there is no shortage of patients with common neurological conditions. This is especially true in the residents own continuity clinic, where the residents follow and manage their own selection of patients from the region.
3. The teaching is excellent. Because there are so many neurologists, it seems that they have picked those with a particular flair for teaching to give our lectures and tutorials.
What is living in Rochester like for you?
I came from a big city of a million people. However, I adjusted to life in Rochester reasonably quickly. I play soccer here in town. there is an indoor and outdoor league which a lot of our fellow residents play in. In the summer there are plenty of nice golf courses to play on also. There are also biking trails and water sports on the river Zumbro. There is also skiing in the winter an hour away by car. There is a new gym on campus with state-of-the-art facilities and is subsidized for staff. Rochester is reasonably cheap to live in and buying a house is not too expensive. Another benefit is no traffic, which is a welcome change from my home town of Dublin. The city has also been trying to develop the downtown area, so the numbers of restaurants and bars are on the rise. At least once I month I will head up to Minneapolis at the weekend for a change of scenery which is not too far (an hour and fifteen minutes by car).