Medical student

Medical student

For students beginning their medical education, the neuroscience curriculum is frequently seen as the most difficult, and many express an aversion to the topic. A major reason for this aversion amongst learners is the perceived complexity of neuroanatomy 1).

Osler created the first residency program for specialty training of physicians, and he was the first to bring medical students out of the lecture hall for bedside clinical training. Historically, medical student education in neurological surgery has generally limited student involvement to assisting in research projects with minimal formal clinical exposure before starting sub-internships and application for the neurosurgery match. Consequently, students have generally had little opportunity to acquire exposure to clinical neurosurgery and attain minimal proficiency 2).

Neurosurgery seeks to attract the best and brightest medical students; however, there is often a lack of early exposure to the field, among other possible barriers.

United States

Lubelski et al. sought to identify successful practices that can be implemented to improve medical student recruitment to neurosurgery.

United States neurosurgery residency program directors were surveyed to determine the number of medical student rotators and medical students matching into a neurosurgery residency from their programs between 2010 and 2016. Program directors were asked about the ways their respective institutions integrated medical students into departmental clinical and research activities.

Complete responses were received from 30/110 institutions. Fifty-two percent of the institutions had neurosurgery didactic lectures for 1st- and 2nd-year medical students (MS1/2), and 87% had didactics for MS3/4. Seventy-seven percent of departments had a neurosurgery interest group, which was the most common method used to integrate medical students into the department. Other forms of outreach included formal mentorshipprograms (53%), lecture series (57%), and neurosurgery anatomy labs (40%). Seventy-three percent of programs provided research opportunities to medical students, and 57% indicated that the schools had a formal research requirement. On average, 3 medical students did a rotation in each neurosurgery department and 1 matched into neurosurgery each year. However, there was substantial variability among programs. Over the 2010-2016 period, the responding institutions matched as many as 4% of the graduating class into neurosurgery per year, whereas others matched 0%-1%. Departments that matched a greater (≥ 1% per year) number of medical students into neurosurgery were significantly more likely to have a neurosurgery interest group and formal research requirements. A greater percentage of high-matching programs had neurosurgery mentorship programs, lecture series, and cadaver training opportunities compared to the other institutions.

In recent decades, the number of applicants to neurosurgery has decreased. A major deterrent may be the delayed exposure of medical students to neurosurgery. Institutions with early preclinical exposure, active neurosurgery interest groups, research opportunities, and strong mentorship recruit and match more students into neurosurgery. Implementing such initiatives on a national level may increase the number of highly qualified medical students pursuing neurosurgery 3).

A medical student training camp was created to improve the preparation of medical students for the involvement in neurological surgery activities and sub-internships.

A 1-day course was held at Weill Cornell Medicine, which consisted of a series of morning lectures, an interactive resident lunch panel, and afternoon hands-on laboratory sessions. Students completed self-assessment questionnaires regarding their confidence in several areas of clinical neurosurgery before the start of the course and again at its end.

A significant increase in self-assessed confidence was observed in all skill areas surveyed. Overall, rising fourth year students who were starting sub-internships in the subsequent weeks reported a substantial increase in their preparedness for the elective rotations in neurosurgery.

The preparation of medical students for clinical neurosurgery can be improved. Single-day courses such as the described training camp are an effective method for improving knowledge and skill gaps in medical students entering neurosurgical careers. Initiatives should be developed, in addition to this annual program, to increase the clinical and research skills throughout medical student education 4).


Medical students in Canada must make career choices by their final year of medical school. Selection of students for a career in neurosurgery has traditionally been based on marks, reference letters and personal interviews. Studies have shown that marks alone are not accurate predictors of success in medical practice; personal skills and attributes which can best be assessed by reference letters and interviews may be more important. A study was an attempt to assess the importance of, and ability to teach, personal skills and attitudes necessary for successful completion of a neurosurgical training program.

questionnaire was sent to 185 active members of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society, asking them to give a numerical rating of the importance of 22 personal skills and attributes, and their ability to teach those skills and attributes. They were asked to list any additional skills or attributes considered important, and rate their ability to teach them.

Sixty-six (36%) questionnaires were returned. Honesty, motivation, willingness to learn, ability to problem solve, and ability to handle stress were the five most important characteristics identified. Neurosurgeons thought they could teach problem solving, willingness to consult informed sources, critical thinking, manual dexterity, and communication skills, but honesty, motivation, willingness to learn and ability to handle stress were difficult or impossible to teach.

Honestymotivationwillingness to learnproblem solving and Stress management are important for success in a neurosurgical career. This information should be transmitted to medical students at “Career Day” venues. Structuring letters of reference and interviews to assess personal skills and attributes will be important, as those that can’t be taught should be present before the start of training 5).



Larkin MB, Graves E, Rees R, Mears D. A Multimedia Dissection Module for Scalp, Meninges, and Dural Partitions. MedEdPORTAL. 2018 Mar 22;14:10695. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10695. PubMed PMID: 30800895; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6342347.
2) , 4)

Radwanski RE, Winston G, Younus I, ElJalby M, Yuan M, Oh Y, Gucer SB, Hoffman CE, Stieg PE, Greenfield JP, Pannullo SC. Neurosurgery Training Camp for Sub-Internship Preparation: Lessons From the Inaugural Course. World Neurosurg. 2019 Apr 1. pii: S1878-8750(19)30926-X. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2019.03.246. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30947014.

Lubelski D, Xiao R, Mukherjee D, Ashley WW, Witham T, Brem H, Huang J, Wolfe SQ. Improving medical student recruitment to neurosurgery. J Neurosurg. 2019 Aug 9:1-7. doi: 10.3171/2019.5.JNS1987. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31398709.

Myles ST, McAleer S. Selection of neurosurgical trainees. Can J Neurol Sci. 2003 Feb;30(1):26-30. PubMed PMID: 12619780.

Hubris syndrome in neurosurgery

Hubris syndrome

Hubris syndrome (HS) is an acquired psychiatric disorder that affects people who exercise power in any of its forms. It has been reported in many fields, from politics to finance. The physician-patient relationship is also one of power. A lack of humbleness and empathy in this situation can lead to qualities such as self-confidence and self-assurance becoming pride, arrogance and high-handedness, which characterise a doctor suffering from HS.

The diagnostic criteria for HS initially reported in political leaders with government responsibilities are analysed and transferred to the medical field of neurosurgery. Two forms of medical HS are described and ten diagnostic criteria are proposed that are valid for any physician-patient relationship.

HS is an acquired psychiatric disorder that is triggered by power and enhanced by success, and can easily be observed on a daily basis in physicians working in settings that are very close to us. Early identification of these medical behaviours is necessary to be able to mitigate their consequences 1).


Gonzalez-Garcia J. [Hubris syndrome in neurosurgery]. Rev Neurol. 2019 Apr 16;68(8):346-353. doi: 10.33588/rn.6808.2018355. Review. Spanish. PubMed PMID: 30963532.



Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the generational demographic cohort following Generation X (born between 1982 and 2004).

Current residency applicants are members of Generation Y and are significantly different from previous generations of trainees as well as the faculty who attract, recruit, and manage them.

Generation Y has been affected by globalizationdiversification, terrorism, and international crisis. They are products of the self-esteem movement in child rearing, education, and extracurricular activities where they were all declared winners. Children’s activities no longer had winners and losers or first, second, and third place; every child received a participation trophy. Even though they were raised to be a team player, their parents always told them they are special. Technology is ingrained into their daily lives, and they expect its use to be effective and efficient. Generation Y-ers desire to impact the world and give back to their communities and demand immediate access to leadership. This generation poses a challenge to residency programs that will need to attract, recruit, and manage them effectively 1).

Millenials are set up for conflict with older generations due to their differing outlook and set of priorities on life, which have been shaped by the unique and formidable events and circumstances that they were exposed to during their upbringing.

Concern has been raised that residents in the millennial era may have more serious professionalism and performance issues (PPIs) during trainingcompared to prior trainees.

Many feel that the generational differences encountered with Millennial trainees are novel; the reality is that prior generations have always bemoaned generational differences. This is not a new problem; some of the same things may even have been said about us during our own training! There are a variety of myths and misconceptions about the Millennial generation. Lourenco et al., in 2017 reviewed some of the differences frequently encountered as we educate and work alongside our Millennial colleagues, dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions. With increased understanding of this talented group of individuals, we hope to be more effective teachers and have more successful professional relationships 2).

Newman et al., retrospectively reviewed a 50-year experience at a single training center. They then prospectively surveyed living graduates of the program to assess variations in practice patterns and job satisfaction over 5 decades.

The PPIs of 141 residents admitted for training at the University of Pittsburgh (subsequently UPMC) Department of Neurological Surgery were reviewed by decade starting in 1971 when the first department chair was appointed. The review was conducted by the senior author, who served from 1975 to 1980 as a resident, as a faculty member since 1980, and as the resident director since 1986. A review of resident PPIs between 1971 and 1974 was performed in consultation with a senior faculty member active at that time. During the last decade, electronic reporting of PPIs was performed by entry into an electronic reporting system. In order to further evaluate whether the frequency of PPIs affected subsequent job satisfaction and practice patterns after completion of training, the authors surveyed living graduates.

There was no statistically significant difference by decade in serious PPIs. Although millennial residents had no significant increase in the reporting of serious PPIs, the increased use of electronic event reporting over the most recent 2 decades coincided with a trend of increased reporting of all levels of suspected PPIs (p < 0.05). Residents surveyed after completion of training showed no difference by decade in types of practice or satisfaction-based metrics (p > 0.05) but reported increasing concerns related to the impact of their profession on their own lifestyle as well as their family’s.

There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of serious PPIs over 5 decades of training neurosurgery residents at the authors’ institution. During the millennial era, serious PPIs have not been increasing. However, reporting of all levels of PPIs is increasing coincident with the ease of electronic reporting. There was remarkably little variance in satisfaction metrics or type of practice over the 5 decades studied 3).



Schlitzkus LL, Schenarts KD, Schenarts PJ. Is your residency program ready for Generation Y? J Surg Educ. 2010 Mar-Apr;67(2):108-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2010.03.004. PubMed PMID: 20656608.

Lourenco AP, Cronan JJ. Teaching and Working With Millennial Trainees: Impact on Radiological Education and Work Performance. J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 Jan;14(1):92-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2016.06.029. Epub 2016 Aug 21. Review. PubMed PMID: 27554062.

Newman WC, Chang YF, Lunsford LD. Professionalism and performance issues during neurosurgical training and job satisfaction after training: a single training center 50-year experience. J Neurosurg. 2018 Aug 1:1-7. doi: 10.3171/2018.3.JNS172347. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30117767.
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