Training By Year

The PGY1 year consists of several fundamental skills rotations. This includes one month of anesthesiology where residents have exposure to anesthetic management of patients undergoing neurosurgical procedures. One month is dedicated towards general surgery. More specifically, residents rotate on the trauma surgery service at Advocate Christ Medical Center which is a high-volume level one trauma center. One month is spent on neuropathology where our residents work one on one with our director of Neuropathology. Residents typically prepare for and complete Step 3 of the USMLE during this time. Two months are spent on the neurology services including stroke, general neurology, epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) and outpatient EMG/NCS.
     The remainder of the intern year are dedicated to neurosurgical critical care and the operating room. 5 months are spent in our 22-bed neurosciences ICU where trainees become familiar with the intensive management of patients with a wide variety of neurological conditions. One month is spent on night float where the resident is paired with a more senior colleague to become accustomed to taking overnight call. The remaining month is spent in the operating room.
The focus of the junior residency to further develop and expand upon skills learned in the neurosciences ICU and to build on basic operative skills. During the PGY2 year, Approximately 3-4 months are dedicated to the neurosurgical critical care. A 3 month endovascular rotation is also completed. The remainder of PGY2 is spent in the operating room learning basic operative procedures. Residents take overnight call no more than 1:3 nights and this typically ranges from 1:3 to 1:5 depending on the number of residents on service.
     During the PGY3 year, residents spend more time in the operating room learning  general neurosurgery procedures with a particular focus on   spine surgery, peripheral nerve surgery, pain/functional procedures, and basic cranial surgery. 3 months are spent at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in Pediatric Neurosurgery and another 3 months are spent at one of our affiliated medical centers with a particular emphasis on neurosurgical trauma. Outpatient clinic experience in spine, tumor, pain/ functional, and general neurosurgery clinics is interspersed throughout the junior years. The PGY3 resident will also take the ABNS primary examination for practice.

The senior resident gains increasing responsibility for operative procedures and access to a more complex case-mix including complex spine and cranial surgery. The resident also takes on an active teaching role both in and out of the OR for the more junior residents. The PGY4 resident will rotate for an additional 3 months at one of our affiliated medical centers to gain more exposure to spine and cranial trauma. In addition, the ABNS primary examination is taken for credit this year. The resident functions in an increasingly independent manner, serving as a prelude to the official Chief Resident year.

The PGY5 year is typically dedicated to elective experiences. In general, one of five selective tracks are pursued: basic science or clinical research, enfolded fellowship, obtaining advanced degree, or additional training in a subspecialty field. The selected experience may occur in the PGY5, 6 or 7 year dependent on individual track and career goals. The scientific resources of the Department of Neurosurgery, as well as the University of Illinois, are available to the resident throughout this time.

As a PGY7 resident, the trainee functions as the chief of the service.  He/she obtain a full range of experience in cerebrovascular surgery, microsurgery through complex cranial cases, and additional experience in complex spine surgery.The Chief Resident performs a large and varied number of cases while assuming a prominent teaching role for the residents and medical students on service.