The Staff Neurosurgeon

The responsibilities of the attending neurosurgical staff in the program are to assist the resident to achieve a competent state of independence in the practice of neurosurgery. This can be done by giving guidance in reading and studying, by supervising and demanding excellence in data gathering skills, by supervising the resident’s development of a system of analysis and decision making, and in supervising and teaching technical skills.

The staff should provide regular (real time) positive and constructive feedback of the resident’s performance and activities. The staff can assist the resident by coordinating and participating in seminars, by giving guidance in topics of priority, and from time-to-time providing references and pertinent articles for review so as to stimulate resident reading.

The residency system of training can best be described as a mentor/apprentice relationship between student and teacher. It has been clearly shown that the relationship and interaction between student and teacher is the most important single element in the training process.

There are several aspects in the development of this relationship:

  1. Repeated and frequent exposure and interaction between staff and residents
  2. A relationship which is characterized by trust and respect
  3. Expectations and demand for excellence on both parties
  4. An attitude and activity of constructive input into each others’ performance
  5. An appropriate graduated trust and responsibility
  6. An understanding that both staff and residents are integral to the program and share the same objectives and aims.