Three one-month rotations are spent during the internship year on services outside of the neurosciences that are important to a foundation in neurosurgery. Typical rotations include surgical critical care and the trauma service, as well as an additional month on another general surgery service.
A period of three months during the internship is spent on the clinical neurology and neurointensive care services. This rotation focuses on aspects of neurology most relevant to neurosurgery training, including stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage care, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.
A minimum of 54 months are spent in neurosurgical rotations at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. These rotations are structured to allow for appropriate junior and senior level neurosurgical operative and clinical exposure. The program is organized to ensure a graded and increasing level of responsibility as the resident progresses through the rotations such that graduates are prepared to independently take care of the full breadth of neurosurgical disorders.
Sixteen to eighteen months of protected research fellowship time is built into the Penn Neurosurgery training program to prepare residents for a career in academic neurosurgery. Opportunities exist for participation in a wide array of programs throughout the greater University of Pennsylvania community. Residents have successfully partnered with collaborators at the Perelman School of Medicine, School of Engineering, and the Wharton School to develop basic science and translational projects. The postgraduate research fellowship is also designed to provide experience in grant application and research publication. Residents have successfully acquired NIH F32 grants, Neurosurgery Research and Educational Foundation (NREF) awards, and industry-sponsored grants to support their research efforts.
Beginning in 2013, senior residents from the Penn Neurosurgery program began travelling to Wellington, New Zealand to work as a fellow amongst a group of practicing neurosurgeons at a major academic center. This rotation is designed to strengthen clinical skills and foster operative independence and decision-making. The experience of working in an international healthcare setting is a unique and advantageous aspect of the Penn neurosurgical training program. The duration of time spent overseas is accommodating to specific resident interests.
The remaining rotations within the seven-year program are structured to meet the needs and interests of individual residents. These rotations have included in-folded fellowships in functional neurosurgery, scoliosis surgery, endoscopic and skull base surgery, as well as peripheral nerve surgery.