Resident Blog

A day in the life of a neurosurgery resident

The work week at Carilion Clinic Neurosurgery is varied and can be adapted to the interests of the individual medical student. Generally team members begin each day with 'rounds' on intensive care unit patients and then floor patients. Several members split off to go to the operating room while others head to the outpatient clinics. Surgeries are conducted every day but are generally limited on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays the resident team participates in an attending-supervised clinic in the morning. In the afternoon, the entire team meets for academic sessions. The academic sessions begin in the ICU with traditional 'grand rounds' where selected inpatients are visited and focused upon. The team extensively evaluates each patient's history and physical exam, and then discusses the multiple permutations of the patient's disorder in a challenging, Socratic, manner. The team then moves to classrooms and addresses a variety of neuroscience related topics ranging from research, to operative nuances, physiology, pathology, ethical and socioeconomic issues.

Teaching methods such as student and resident prepared lectures, Jeopardy-style intra-service competitions, quiz sessions, role-playing, demonstrations, guest lecturers, pre-op conferences, literature reviews, surgical nuance discussions, round table ethics discussions, and more are routinely employed. The days can be rather long, starting at 0600 and going until the work is done, but the fast-pace action assures that the time goes extraordinarily quickly.