Department of  Neurosurgery
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A Year in Perspective: PGY-2

Bhuvic Patel, MD

The neurosurgical training program at Washington University caught my interest when I was a first-year medical student at Washington University. The department's faculty are dedicated to providing excellent clinical and research training, and there is no shortage of mentors within the department. During my clinical rotations as a third- and fourth-year medical student, it became very clear to me that the rigorous training provided by the program produced excellent physicians attuned to every detail of their patients’ care. I was also impressed by the level of camaraderie among the residents and the faculty's responsiveness to resident feedback. Having completed a year of training in the program, my initial impression of the program is unchanged, and I couldn’t be happier with the selection I made.
The neurosurgery intern year at Washington University is primarily geared towards establishing a strong foundation for caring for critically ill patients. There are thirteen four-week rotations, four of which are neurosurgical rotations: floor intern, day consultation, night consultation and service resident. These rotations are an opportunity to learn in a protected environment with graded responsibility and autonomy. The nurse practitioners are available to assist with floor work and are an excellent resource for interns learning about postoperative patient management. You will also work one-on-one with more senior residents who will guide you through admitting new patients, seeing consults and performing bedside procedures. While you are on any of these on-service rotations you will always have the comfort of knowing that all of the more senior residents from PGY-2 to 7 are available to advise and support you.
The remaining nine rotations are spent off service. There are five blocks dedicated to intensive care unit training in the neurology/neurosurgery, cardiothoracic and surgical ICUs. You will learn to do central lines, chest tubes, lumbar punctures and endotracheal intubation. While you are in the neurology/neurosurgery ICU you will also have the opportunity to place external ventricular drains and intracranial pressure monitoring devices. One block each is also spent on otolaryngology, orthopedic spine, the emergency department and surgical pathology/neuroradiology. These blocks provide for valuable learning experiences with services that you will work closely with throughout the remainder of your residency and career.
The structure of intern year allows for ample time for residents to explore St. Louis. Despite being familiar with the city from my experience here as a medical student, I still discovered new restaurants to visit. Newcomers to St. Louis will find that it is a safe and pleasant place to live. There are a number of free or inexpensive attractions to visit, and housing is very affordable. Many residents buy homes within 10 to 15 minutes of walking or driving to the hospital. I quickly grew to love living in St. Louis when I moved here from the Northeast as a medical student, and I am looking forward to completing my training here.

Fun interests: Intramural sports, taekwondo, computers and technology