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NeuroSci ; 2(4):320-333, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1444278


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted medical education and the residency application process. Methods: We conducted a descriptive observational study in April 2020 of medical students and foreign medical graduates considering or pursuing careers in neurosurgery in the United States to examine the impact of the pandemic. Results: A total of 379 respondents from 67 medical schools completed the survey. Across all participants, 92% (n = 347) stopped in-person didactic education, and 43% (n = 161) experienced basic science and 44% (n = 167) clinical research delays. Sixty percent (n = 227) cited a negative impact on academic productivity. Among first year students, 18% (n = 17) were less likely to pursue a career in neurosurgery. Over half of second year and third year students were likely to delay taking the United States Medical Licensing Examination Steps I and II. Among third year students, 77% (n = 91) reported indefinite postponement of sub-internships, and 43% (n = 53) were unsatisfied with communication from external programs. Many fourth-year students (50%, n = 17) were graduating early to participate in COVID-19-related patient care. Top student-requested support activities included access to student-focused educational webinars and sessions at upcoming conferences. Conclusions: Medical students pursuing careers in neurosurgery faced unique academic, career, and personal challenges secondary to the pandemic. These challenges may become opportunities for new initiatives guided by professional organizations and residency programs.

World Neurosurg ; 154: e590-e604, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440406


OBJECTIVE: The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a shift to virtual residency interviews for the 2020-2021 neurosurgery match, with unknown implications for stakeholders. This study seeks to analyze the perceptions of residency program directors (PDs) and associate program directors (APDs) regarding the current virtual format used for residency selection and interviews. METHODS: An anonymous, 30-question survey was constructed and sent to 115 neurosurgery PDs and 26 APDs to assess respondent demographics, factors used to review applicants, perceptions of applicants and applicant engagement, perceptions of standardized letters and interview questions, the effect of the virtual interview format on various stakeholders, and the future outlook for the virtual residency interview format. RESULTS: A total of 38 PDs and APDs completed this survey, constituting a response rate of 27.0%. Survey respondents received significantly more Electronic Residency Application Service applications in the 2020-2021 cycle compared with the 2019-2020 cycle (P = 0.0029). Subinternship performance by home-rotators, (26.3%), letters of recommendation (23.7%), and Step 1 score (18.4%) were ranked as the most important factors for evaluating candidates during the current virtual application cycle. CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights that applicants applied to a greater number of residency programs compared with years prior, that the criteria used by PDs/APDs to evaluate applicants remained largely consistent compared to previous years, and that the virtual residency interview format may disproportionately disadvantage Doctor of Osteopathic medicine and international medical graduate applicants. Further exploring attitudes toward signaling mechanisms and standardized letters may serve to inform changes to future neurosurgery match cycles.

COVID-19 , Education, Distance , Internship and Residency , Neurosurgery/education , Pandemics , School Admission Criteria/trends , Humans , Surveys and Questionnaires
Neurosurg Focus ; 49(6): E17, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-954005


OBJECTIVE: Neurosurgical education in the US has changed significantly as a consequence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Institutional social distancing requirements have resulted in many neurosurgical programs utilizing video conferencing for educational activities. However, it is unclear how or if these practices should continue after the pandemic. The objective of this study was to characterize virtual education in neurosurgery and understand how it should be utilized after COVID-19. METHODS: A 24-question, 3-part online survey was administered anonymously to all 117 US neurosurgical residency programs from May 15, 2020, to June 15, 2020. Questions pertained to the current use of virtual conferencing, preferences over traditional conferences, and future inclinations. The Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 3 = neutral, 5 = strongly agree) was used. Comparisons were calculated using the Mann-Whitney U-test. Statistical significance was set at 0.05. RESULTS: One-hundred eight responses were recorded. Overall, 38 respondents (35.2%) were attendings and 70 (64.8%) were trainees. Forty-one respondents (38.0%) indicated attending 5-6 conferences per week and 70 (64.8%) attend national virtual conferences. When considering different conference types, there was no overall preference (scores < 3) for virtual conferences over traditional conferences. In regard to future use, respondents strongly agreed that they would continue the practice at some capacity after the pandemic (median score 5). Overall, respondents agreed that virtual conferences would partially replace traditional conferences (median score 4), whereas they strongly disagreed with the complete replacement of traditional conferences (median score 1). The most common choices for the partial replacement of tradition conferences were case conferences (59/108, 55%) and board preparation (64/108, 59%). Lastly, there was a significant difference in scores for continued use of virtual conferencing in those who attend nationally sponsored conferences (median score 5, n = 70) and those who do not (median score 4, n = 38; U = 1762.50, z = 2.97, r = 0.29, p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: Virtual conferences will likely remain an integral part of neurosurgical education after the COVID-19 pandemic has abated. Across the country, residents and faculty report a preference for continued use of virtual conferencing, especially virtual case conferences and board preparation. Some traditional conferences may even be replaced with virtual conferences, in particular those that are more didactic. Furthermore, nationally sponsored virtual conferences have a positive effect on the preferences for continued use of virtual conferences.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Education, Distance/standards , Internship and Residency/standards , Neurosurgical Procedures/education , Surveys and Questionnaires , Telecommunications/standards , Adult , Aged , Education, Distance/methods , Female , Humans , Internship and Residency/methods , Male , Middle Aged , Neurosurgical Procedures/methods , Neurosurgical Procedures/standards