Rotations

The neurosurgery residency training program is centered around the clinical service at the University Hospital (UH) and Primary Children’s Hospital (PCH), which are located in close proximity to one another on the University of Utah Campus, as well as the recently added Intermountain Medical Center (IMC). Together these form the major medical teaching complex in the Intermountain West, a large geographic area extending from the Canadian border to northern Arizona and from the Rocky Mountains to western Nevada. We serve as the major referral hospital complex for patients with neurological and neurosurgical diseases and provide neurosurgical care for many patients within Utah and the adjacent states. All of the hospitals offer advanced state-of-the-art technology and facilities.

PGY1

This year is spent acquiring fundamental clinical skills. During this year the resident will participate in 9 blocks of neurosurgery (3 of which are spend in the NCCU under the direction of our neurocritical care intensivists), 1 block is spent in our subspecialty outpatient clinics split between neuro-ophthalmology and neuro-oncology, 1 block in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and 2 blocks of neurology (1 block inpatient and 1 block split between neurocritical care and outpatient neurology). Orientation to the PGY1 year is given by the University of Utah Graduate Medical Education department and includes education on sleep and sleep deprivation. The educational material on orientation topics is always accessible on the GME web site.

PGY2

Clinical Neurosurgery at UH. During this year, the resident is a junior member of the housestaff participating in patient care on the adult neurosurgery service. Here residents participate in the junior-call rotation and are introduced to the full spectrum of adult neurosurgical disorders. They spend 4 blocks of the year in the NCCU under the supervision of the neurocritical care intensivists taking care of critically ill neurological patients, managing acute stroke patients as well as nonsurgical neurological disorders. They also take 4-5 blocks of night-float call responsibilities.

PGY3

  • Clinical Pediatric Neurosurgery at PCH (6 blocks). During this rotation the residents are involved in the care of children with neurosurgical disorders along with a senior resident and a pediatric neurosurgery fellow. They have a one-in-three call rotation from home and obtain inpatient and outpatient emergency department and surgical experience.
  • Clinical Neurosurgery at UH (4 blocks). Continued training with increased responsibility as a junior member of the housestaff participating in patient care on the adult neurosurgery service. Includes 2 blocks of night-float call responsibilities.
  • Interventional Neuroradiology(IR) (2 blocks). IR experience is obtained during this time at UH. Diagnostic and therapeutic techniques are learned, as are indications and complications. Time is spent with our two endovascular trained neurosurgeons and two neuroradiologists.
  • Board preparation time (1 block). One block is intended for intensive board preparation time and self-study. Time on the neuropathology and neuroradiology service is also required.

PGY4

Elective (13 blocks). Several options for laboratory and/or clinical research in neuro-oncology, spine, skull base, pediatric neurosurgery, and clinical trials are available during this year. Some residents participate in relevant course work at the University of Utah School of Graduate Medicine, and several have earned graduate degrees. Residents on their elective rotations are responsible for two days per month of junior resident level call at UH as well as outpatient telemedicine clinics half day twice monthly.

PGY5 

Senior resident on clinical neurosurgery at the UH and IMC (8-9 blocks), and senior resident on Clinical Pediatric Neurosurgery at PCMC (4-5 blocks).

PGY6 

Senior resident on Clinical Neurosurgery at UH and IMC (13 blocks) This time provides additional clinical experience that can be tailored to the resident’s needs and career aspirations. The resident may work at IMC on selected days as case availability and interest allows. A rotation focused in a subspecialty area of clinical neurosurgery will be provided with the possibility of a subspecialty enfolded fellowship. if necessary, remedial work with focus on specific areas may also be completed.

PGY7

Chief resident at UH (13 blocks). During this year the resident functions as the chief resident in charge of the service, performing a high volume of surgical cases of increasing complexity as their skills allow.

Exams

Residents take the written examination of the American Board of Neurological Surgery starting with the PGY1 year. During the PGY1 and PGY2 years, the resident takes the exam for self-assessment. PGY3 and above residents will take it for credit only. All residents are required by the American Board of Neurological Surgery to satisfactorily pass this examination for credit. The department goal is to have residents achieve a score of 25th percentile or higher. If this is achieved on the first attempt, a second attempt is not necessary.

Didactics

Scheduled didactic teaching conferences are an integral part of our residency. We have a regularly scheduled journal club, morbidity and mortality conference, cerebrovascular conference, and grand rounds. These are supplemented with resident presentations on selected topics and joint conferences with neurology. Our excellent neuroradiology section participates in most of our teaching conferences and interacts actively with our department. The neurosurgery department also hosts the Lende Winter Neurosurgery meeting each February. This outstanding conference attracts many nationally and internationally known neurosurgeons each year and residents are encouraged to present at this meeting.

Possible Electives

Laboratory and/or clinical research in neuro-oncology, spine, skull base, pediatric neurosurgery, and clinical trials are available. Residents may also participate in relevant course work at the University of Utah School of Graduate Medicine to earn a graduate degree.

Vacation Time

Vacations are not taken during specific rotations or sites and one resident may be gone from a service at a time. No vacation is permitted the last two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July or during times of meetings. The Department tries to accommodate residents’ vacation requests provided that it does not interfere with the proper functioning of the service.

Residency Program Director

Randy Jensen
Randy L. Jensen, MD, PhD

Contact Us

Amy Ekins
Academic Program Manager
Phone: 801-585-2453
Fax: 801-581-4385
Email: amy.ekins@hsc.utah.edu
Department of Neurosurgery
University of Utah Health Care
175 N. Medical Drive East, 5th Floor
Salt Lake City, UT 84132

Residency Welcome

Why Salt Lake City, Utah?