050. The elements of an effective pediatric neurosurgery rotation for medical students

Authors: Rebecca Anne Reynolds, MD

Medical students submit more competitive neurosurgery residency applications every year. Exposure to a variety of neurosurgical conditions, patients, and research during medical school is important to encourage recruitment diversity. Pediatric neurosurgery is in a unique position to engage students in various stages of training through children’s hospital rotations.Methods: Medical students (MS1-4) who completed a one- or two-week rotation in pediatric neurosurgery at a tertiary care children’s hospital between June 2015 and September 2020 were asked to complete a post-rotation anonymous online REDCap survey. A rotation checklist was implemented in August 2018.
A total of 62 participants completed the evaluation. The survey response rate was 53% (n=62/118). Participants included 48 fourth-year students (MS4, 77%) and 14 MS1-3 students (23%). Highlights of the rotation included both the outpatient clinic and operating room (97%, n=60). Students who had a short presentation during morning report about a focused pediatric neurosurgical topic defined the exercise as informative and another rotation highlight (87%, n=54). Of those in the checklist era, 74% (n=19) found it a useful tool to guide their time on service but there were no significant differences in survey results pre- and post- checklist implementation. Most students felt that their pediatric neurological exam skills improved during this rotation (66%, n=41). Nearly all thought that the rotation enhanced their medical education (97%, n=60) and would recommend it to a colleague (94%, n=58). Students commonly reported that they were more likely to pursue a career in pediatric neurosurgery as a result of the rotation (87%, n=54).
A rotation in pediatric neurosurgery that exposes students to a wide variety of pediatric neurosurgical conditions enhances medical student education and encourages a career in neurosurgery. Students seek clear rotation goals, such as a checklist of expectations, and participation in both the outpatient and inpatient settings.