Cultivating the Future: Educational and Leadership Opportunities for Residents

Krystal Tomei, MD

The mission of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons is to enhance health and improve lives worldwide through the advancement of neurosurgical education and scientific exchange. The CNS resident committee aims to focus specifically on the educational needs of residents as they proceed through their training and prepare for their chosen career.

We held focus groups with CNS resident members to improve our understanding of what resources the residents were interested in, how they learn, and what they are looking for within an organization. We realize the needs of our resident members may differ from our practicing physician members, and want to ensure that we are developing resources for all stages of the neurosurgical career.

The major initiative of the resident committee has been the creation of CNS Leadership Fellows, an opportunity for residents to apply for and serve formally on CNS committees. This allows residents to engage in leadership early in their career as well as give them an opportunity to impact our organization with their contributions. Our inaugural class of 35 leadership fellows have been doing amazing work, helping to create resources, working to develop cases for education, reaching out internationally to identify how we can also work collaboratively with our international partner organizations, and more.

We have increased the number of live courses that we offer to residents, and this year were pleased to offer a Simulation-based Neurosurgical Training course at the CNS Annual Meeting, targeted towards PGY-3-5 year residents. In addition, we are offering a new Surgical Treatment of the Craniocervical Junction course targeted toward senior residents, and continue to offer our 3-D Surgical Anatomy course also targeted towards senior and chief residents. We continue to work with the SNS to provide the PGY-1 Boot Camp Fundamental Skills course. Internationally, the CNS partners with the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies to provide joint resident programs throughout Europe.

For residents who are unable to make it to a live course, we offer more than 76 webinars, 32 online courses, and more than 120 recorded Annual Meeting presentations, all free to CNS Resident members. Residents also get discounted rates for SANS board review questions and a complementary digital subscription to Neurosurgery.

Based upon the feedback we received, the CNS now sends targeted communication in the form of a resident edition of the Congress Weekly e-newsletter with information relevant to our resident members. We also continue to reach out via social media.

We are working to create career resources to help guide residents transitioning into practice, which should be coming soon to the website. We continue to look towards developing more quick-reference materials for residents, including web-based materials as well as smartphone apps. We have garnered excellent feedback and input from residents and hope to develop even more resources and opportunities for our resident members in the coming year.

The major initiative of the resident committee has been the creation of CNS Leadership Fellows, an opportunity for residents to apply for and serve formally on CNS committees. This allows residents to engage in leadership early in their career as well as give them an opportunity to impact our organization with their contributions.