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How long and hard are the long and hard hours of neurosurgery?

Discussion in 'Neurosurgery' started by Poe22222, Mar 29, 2006.

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  1. Poe22222

    Poe22222 New Member

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    I see everyone talking about the incredible demands placed on neurosurgeons. What exactly are these demands? I realize this is a dumb question, but asking here seems to be the easiest way to find the answer. How many hours/days a week do most neurosurgeons work? I know the surgeries can be very long and grueling, but no one could be expected to perform an 8 hour procedure 7 days a week, or even 6. How about residency? Of course the first year or two is going to be filled with 80+ hour work weeks, but how about years 5-7 of the lengthy residency program? Thanks a lot in advance
  2. Poe22222

    Poe22222 New Member

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    Surely someone can give me an idea of the average work week for a practicing neurosurgeon... come on people
  3. Careofme

    Careofme Senior Member

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    I think you may already have your answer....

    ...everyone is too busy working! :laugh:
  4. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    The demands are great. The hours are long. They work hard. That's about all anyone can tell you. But it's all relative and people put different demands on themselves. Shadow some neurosurgeons (private practice and academic) to see what it is like for them.

    Advancing years in residency does not mean the hours get any shorter...the responsibility does grow.
  5. Poe22222

    Poe22222 New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. If anyone else has anything to add, that will also be appreciated.
  6. jolene

    jolene Junior Member

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    It is grueling beyond belief. Prepare for virtually no outside life. The 80 hour limit is a joke. Wait and see.
  7. k_soze

    k_soze Junior Member

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    Neurosurg is a very grueling field to work in. Long hours and lots of call (check out job postings, it's usually 1:2 or 1:3 plus every other weekend). That's a huge commitment for a lifelong job. Definitely not a specialty to choose if you don't absolutely love it.

    As for residency? Literally: no life. A recent survey of NS residents showed 98% of them slept, on average over the course of the residency, less than 4 hours a night. Although the 80-hour week rule is in effect, there are a number of ways around it. Besides, you'd be shortchanging yourself as a resident if you didn't put the work in.

    Bottom line: the rumors are true about the workload. It's up to you to decide if that's a deal-breaker for you. I personally enjoy NS cases I've helped on, but I don't want to commit to that kind of lifestyle. Good money, but it's not worth it.
  8. cdql

    cdql

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    I've heard often that residency programs work their way around the 80 hour limit/week. How exactly do they force the residents to work those extra hours?
  9. Blake

    Blake

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    By threatening them. It's not unheard of attendings pressuring residents to bend the rules and not report any wrongdoing. It happens here, it can happen anywhere...

    The field is very small, and academic big names have enough influence to ruin your career. (a double-edge sword to consider when choosing sub-is.) I guess most people end up saying '' hey, what's another 10 extra hours when my job is on the line ? ''. According to a chief res here, it can go as far as not allowing the resident to take the boards, trying to get him fired, etc. It ain't always pretty, that's for sure...
  10. cdql

    cdql

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    Ouch...that is pretty rough!

    Although I guess if you are going to do something as intense as neurosurgery, it probably requires more than 80 hours a week to become proficient in it.
  11. Blake

    Blake

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    Not so sure. Most canadian programs are 6 years long, including UofT (probably the only canadian program who can easily compete with the top US programs, academically-wise). Why not an extra year ? Seems like they produce fine neurosurgeons each year, so why change a winning formula ? While I know next to nothing about residency, I've been close enough with some NS residents to know their general appreciation of their work hours. In general, they think they work long hours because the system is just plain inefficient (i.e. too much paperwork, not enough PAs, etc). Furthermore, they don't think working lesser hours will lower the quality of their training, as long as they're operating/managing patients instead of running after lab results...

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