Subspecialization of physicians and regional centers concentrate the volume of certain rare cases into fewer hospitals. Consequently, the primary institution of a neurological surgery training program may not have sufficient case volume to meet the current Residency Review Committee case minimum requirements in some areas. To ensure the competency of graduating residents through a comprehensive neurosurgical education, programs may need for residents to travel to outside institutions for exposure to cases that are either less common or more regionally focused. We sought to evaluate off-site rotations to better understand the changing demographics and needs of resident education. This would also allow prospective monitoring of modifications to the neurosurgery training landscape. We completed a survey of neurosurgery program directors and query of data from the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education to characterize the current use of away rotations in neurosurgical education of residents. We found that 20% of programs have mandatory away rotations, most commonly for exposure to pediatric, functional, peripheral nerve, or trauma cases. Most of these rotations are done during postgraduate year 3 to 6, lasting 1 to 15 months. Twenty-six programs have 2 to 3 participating sites and 41 have 4 to 6 sites distinct from the host program. Programs frequently offset potential financial harm to residents rotating at a distant site by support of housing and transportation costs. As medical systems experience fluctuating treatment paradigms and demographics, over time, more residency programs may adapt to meet the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education case minimum requirements through the implementation of away rotations.
From: Resident Away Rotations Allow Adaptive Neurosurgical Training by Gephart et al.