The first year of the program consists of a required three-month rotation in neurology training in the Department of Neurology under the guidance of Dr. Michael Sowell, Education Director for Neurology, exposing the residents to management of general neurological medical conditions. In addition, the first year residents rotate on various services, including rotations in Otolaryngology, Neuroanesthesia, Trauma/Critical Care and Orthopedics, in order to develop skills in general inpatient management, gain an understanding of the function and daily operations of those services, and to acquire skills in those specific areas that are pertinent to neurosurgical practice. The remaining months of the year are spent on the neurosurgical service.
Following the PGY-1 year, neurosurgery junior residents are assigned to ULH, JHSMH and BHE neurosurgery services with the approval of the program director. During the PGY-3 year there is a three-month pediatric neurosurgery rotation and a rotation focused on vascular and endovascular neurosurgery.
Six months of the PGY-4 year of the residency is devoted to research. In the spring of the PGY-3 year, the resident must submit a proposal to the program director outlining the objectives and course of study to be pursued. This year includes a stereotactic and functional neurosurgery rotation, which includes training in Gamma Knife Radiosurgery at University of Kentucky Medical Center and in Proton Beam Radiation Therapy at Midwest Proton Radiation Institute in Bloomington, IN . In this year of training, each resident is expected to pass for credit the primary examination of the American Board of Neurological Surgery.
The fifth year of the program is the Senior Resident year. The Senior Resident is assigned by the Chief Resident to work in the operating rooms and clinics based on the needs of the services and
the particular interests of the Senior Resident.
The sixth year resident is the Chief Resident and assumes not only the highest clinical and operative duties but also assumes significant administrative duties. Administrative duties include the day-to-day operations of the neurosurgical clinical services, supervision of the junior and senior neurosurgery residents and assignment of residents to the operating rooms and other procedures. With the approval of the program director, the Chief Resident assigns the junior residents to clinics, call, and vacation/meeting schedules, and oversees the academic conferences.
The seventh year is a transitional year, during which the trainee is appointed as a Clinical Instructor in Neurosurgery, and is expected to behave as a beginning academic neurosurgeon. The seventh-year trainee assumes responsibility both for his or her own outpatient-based clinic practice, and will operate independently with access to the advice and participation of the faculty. He/she is expected to function independently for routine cases and to begin developing a special area of technical expertise. There is also an expectation that he/she will develop a research agenda, and learn how to manage time between clinical and academic activities. Participation in academic rounds is expected at a faculty level. The regular neurosurgery faculty will endeavor to provide advice and support, as needed, so that the trainee can grow in a nurturing environment.