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Neurosurgery (Minnesota)


Being a Level 1 Trauma Center, Mayo Clinic’s Department of Neurosurgery is a fast-paced service, giving motivated students ample opportunity to observe a wide variety of routine and complex neurosurgical diseases and operations primarily at Saint Marys Hospital. In 2019, over 19,000 outpatient visits resulted in more than 5,000 surgical cases. 

On the first day of the elective, students will attend training and orientation before meeting with the neurosurgery education coordinators to review goals, expectations, receive their rotation schedule, and tour the department.  Students will rotate on four different neurosurgeon’s services during the one-month elective.

Daily activities include morning and afternoon rounds, didactic lectures, bedside clinical teaching, and a daily exchange between students, residents, fellows, and staff regarding patient management. Students are also expected to accompany the consultant in the clinic for exposure to outpatient neurosurgery.  During the summer season, up to four students may rotate at one time.

Specific goals

  1. Participate in a variety of common and uncommon cases of neurosurgery involving head injuries, spinal injuries, cervical and lumbar disc disease, aneurysms, brain tumors, tremors, and more.
  2. Experience the interface of neurology and neurosurgery.
  3. Improve familiarity in recognizing and treating neurologic diseases.
  4. Gain exposure to communicating effectively with hospital staff, patients, and families during difficult situations.
  5. Obtain first-hand knowledge of the training program in neurosurgery at Mayo Clinic.
  6. Present an informal five- to ten-minute discussion on student’s current research project.

Activity outline

Students function as an integral part of each service and are expected to participate in daily rounds, patient care, and on-call duties. They may scrub as second assistants during operative procedures or observe a variety of operations in several operating rooms during the surgical day. Students will have access to numerous learning tools, including the departmental library, drop-in workrooms, on-campus simulation centers, and virtual learning resources. Formal teaching occurs in our daily morning conferences. We offer a variety of conferences including:

  • Cerebrovascular conference
  • Cranial and spine journal clubs
  • Morbidity and mortality case presentation
  • Neuro-oncology case presentation
  • Oral board case review
  • Research grand rounds
  • Spine trauma 

Method of evaluation

Neurosurgery consultants working with the students at the hospital offer constructive criticism and appraisal of the students’ performance. Students receive a breadth of experience working with various physicians in the inpatient and outpatient settings. During the last week of their rotation, students are asked to summarize their experiences for future medical student reference. MedHub evaluations are provided by each consultant who works with the students. Specific criteria include interest and enthusiasm for acquiring new information, and participation in all aspects of patient care, including work rounds with the service's residents. Students may request a letter of recommendation from a faculty member they rotate with.