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Scott L. Zuckerman, Natalie Limoges, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lola B. Chambless, Rohan Chitale, J Mocco and Susan Durham

OBJECTIVE

Residency interviews are integral to the recruitment process yet imperfect. Through surveys of neurosurgery residency applicants, the authors describe interview content and the perceived utility and stress of topics from the applicant’s perspective.

METHODS

All 2018–2019 neurosurgery resident applicants applying to three particular programs were surveyed. Across 10 interview topics, survey questions assessed topic frequency and the applicant’s opinion of the utility and stress of each topic (Likert scale 1–5). Analyses included descriptive statistics, Spearman’s rank correlation, and logistic regression.

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-three of 265 surveyed US residency applicants (50%) responded. Extracurricular activities, research, future career, non-medicine interests, and small talk were discussed in all interviews. The least frequent topics included neurosurgical knowledge assessment (79%) and manual dexterity tests (45%). The most useful topics according to respondents were future career objectives (4.78 ± 0.49) and prior research (4.76 ± 0.50); the least useful were neurosurgical knowledge assessment (2.67 ± 1.09) and manual dexterity tests (2.95 ± 1.05). The most stressful topics were neurosurgical knowledge assessment (3.66 ± 1.23) and ethical/behavioral scenarios (2.94 ± 1.28). The utility and stress of manual dexterity tests and neurosurgical knowledge assessments were inversely correlated (r = −0.40, p < 0.01; r = −0.36, p < 0.01), whereas no such correlation existed for ethical/behavioral questions (r = −0.12, p = 0.18), indicating that ethical/behavioral questions may have been stressful but were potentially useful topics. Respondents who attended ≥ 15 interviews were more likely to be asked about the three most stressful topics (each p < 0.05). Respondents with children were less likely to be asked about ethical/behavioral scenarios (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.03–0.52, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Applicants found several of the most frequently discussed topics to be less useful, indicating a potential disconnect between applicant opinion and the faculty’s preferred questions. Ethical/behavioral scenarios were rated as stressful but still useful, representing a potentially worthwhile type of question. These data provide several avenues for potential standardization and improvement of the interview process.

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Natalie Limoges, Erin D’Agostino, Aaron Gelinne, Cormac O. Maher, R. Michael Scott, Gerald Grant, Mark D. Krieger, David D. Limbrick Jr., Michael White and Susan Durham

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric neurosurgery is a core component of neurosurgical residency training. Pediatric case minimums are established by the Neurosurgery Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Case minimums, by themselves, allow for great variability in training between programs. There are no prior data on how the residency programs meet these requirements. The authors’ objective was to gather information on pediatric neurosurgical education among the ACGME-accredited neurosurgery training programs in order to shape further pediatric neurosurgical educational efforts.

METHODS

A 25-question survey about pediatric neurosurgical education was created by the Education Committee of the Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons and distributed to program directors of all 111 ACGME-accredited neurosurgery training programs.

RESULTS

The response rate was 77% (86/111). In 55% of programs the residents are rotated to a responder-designated “freestanding” children’s hospital, and 39% of programs rotate residents to a children’s hospital within a larger adult hospital or a general hospital. There are 4 or fewer pediatric neurosurgical faculty in 91% of programs. In 12% of programs less than 100 cases are performed per year, and in 45% more than 500 are performed. In 31% of responding neurosurgery residency programs there is also a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship program supported by the same sponsoring institution. Seventy-seven percent of programs have at least one specific pediatric neurosurgery rotation, with 71% of those rotations occurring during postgraduate year 3 and 50% occurring during postgraduate year 4. The duration of pediatric rotation varies from no specific rotation to more than 1 year, with 48% of residents spending 4–6 months on a pediatric rotation and 12% spending 7–11 months. Last, 17% of programs send their residents to external sites sponsoring other residency programs for their pediatric rotation.

CONCLUSIONS

There is great variety between neurosurgery training programs with regard to resident education in pediatric neurosurgery. This study’s data will serve as a baseline for future studies, and the authors hope the findings will guide further efforts in pediatric neurosurgical education in residency training programs.