International medical student - Aiming at neurosurgery residency

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leandrogao

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Hello everyone. As the title says, I am a medical student in Spain. My dream is to become neurosurgeon at the States, but for what I have found, it is quite complex the path to follow and I have some doubts about it. To begin with, I have finished 2nd year of med school (out of 6 here, I think it is similar to the UK), and I feel now is the moment to start preparing for the future I dream. I have read that I need to do STEPs 1,2 and 3(if I want to get a job there) in order to be able to apply for a residency program; albeit, I have read that there are also some other important elements that are if not required, recommended to get into residency.
Thus, I would really like to ask you for a bit of help about how really ,apart from what official websites tell, the path really is and what should I need to get there if I even can.
Thanks to everyone for spending their time reading me!
I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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Dave1980

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It is highly unlikely that you will get a spot.

AFAIK the only chance you have is to come to the US after graduation and work in someone's lab for a few years (making very little money). If you are very productive, they like you, and have enough pull they may be able to secure you a spot at the home program.
 
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mmmcdowe

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Agree that it is hard to make it into residency here without at least one research year. Many end up doing multiple research years or are already trained neurosurgeons elsewhere and then do multiple fellowships until they can get a spot. It is hard. Best advice would be to look up international residents at us neurosurgery programs and email them for advice in the absence of knowing any directly.
 
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leandrogao

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It is highly unlikely that you will get a spot.

AFAIK the only chance you have is to come to the US after graduation and work in someone's lab for a few years (making very little money). If you are very productive, they like you, and have enough pull they may be able to secure you a spot at the home program.
Is this apart from doing the three STEP exams and all the rest of documentation and bureau work? Btw I have read somewhere that the years since you have finished the degree, since graduation, are counted by the people in charge of choosing for the residency, having less years being favourable.
Also I have seen movility programs for international students to go some months to some hospitals and do "clinical practices", I have not searched for every hospital in the nation but I know the Mayo clinic and John Hopkins do have these programs available, if that would be useful in order to as you say like somebody to bet for me.
Thanks very much for your response if you have any question for me feel free to ask!
 
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leandrogao

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Agree that it is hard to make it into residency here without at least one research year. Many end up doing multiple research years or are already trained neurosurgeons elsewhere and then do multiple fellowships until they can get a spot. It is hard. Best advice would be to look up international residents at us neurosurgery programs and email them for advice in the absence of knowing any directly.
Thank you very much, I will try to look for some international residents and ask for their opinion in this subject. What was making me mad was that ( I have seen some statistics of residency applicants accepted) and in this specialty in particular they had an average of 13 research publications, I can only explain that by what you have said, I don't think someone has done that amount of research during medical school, or to me seems imposible at least. The only disadvantage of doing residency outside is that if I do it in my country and later try to go to the States, it does not count as I have done it, so I would have to do again all those years of residency to get the permission to work as a specialised surgeon/doctor in this case. But thanks again for your advise; if you have any questions feel free to ask! I would also know if doing a Phd before or whilst doing the residency would be any beneficial.
 
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Dave1980

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Is this apart from doing the three STEP exams and all the rest of documentation and bureau work? Btw I have read somewhere that the years since you have finished the degree, since graduation, are counted by the people in charge of choosing for the residency, having less years being favourable.
Also I have seen movility programs for international students to go some months to some hospitals and do "clinical practices", I have not searched for every hospital in the nation but I know the Mayo clinic and John Hopkins do have these programs available, if that would be useful in order to as you say like somebody to bet for me.

Not sure what "documentation and bureau work" means. I don't know anything about those programs.

What's your motivation? If it is to be a neurosurgeon you should pursue that in Spain. If it is to make more money by coming to the US you should look into less competitive fields. If it is to do both...well that's too bad...you almost certainly can't have both.
 
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mmmcdowe

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Thank you very much, I will try to look for some international residents and ask for their opinion in this subject. What was making me mad was that ( I have seen some statistics of residency applicants accepted) and in this specialty in particular they had an average of 13 research publications, I can only explain that by what you have said, I don't think someone has done that amount of research during medical school, or to me seems imposible at least. The only disadvantage of doing residency outside is that if I do it in my country and later try to go to the States, it does not count as I have done it, so I would have to do again all those years of residency to get the permission to work as a specialised surgeon/doctor in this case. But thanks again for your advise; if you have any questions feel free to ask! I would also know if doing a Phd before or whilst doing the residency would be any beneficial.
They years elsewhere don't count but being fully trained nuerosurgeon makes you a valuable resident. You will be younger than the average us medical student so taking a few years to do research will not make you too old. The other reason why some international graduates have lots of pubs is because they did a residency in their home country already.
 
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leandrogao

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Not sure what "documentation and bureau work" means. I don't know anything about those programs.

What's your motivation? If it is to be a neurosurgeon you should pursue that in Spain. If it is to make more money by coming to the US you should look into less competitive fields. If it is to do both...well that's too bad...you almost certainly can't have both.
For documentation and bureau work I mean all the papers I need to have and also the corresponding recognition of titles etc...
As for my motivation all I want is to treat people with movement disorders or brain cancer, Im not sure about which of both I will finally choose, so my main goal is pediatric neurosurgery, and be able to help all children with this very serious conditions( from clinical and research points of view, and i think my country lacks both of them). If it was for money I wouldnt even started med school, I personally think for making money there are plenty of other not so hard options that can make someone rich, easier and faster.
They years elsewhere don't count but being fully trained nuerosurgeon makes you a valuable resident. You will be younger than the average us medical student so taking a few years to do research will not make you too old. The other reason why some international graduates have lots of pubs is because they did a residency in their home country already.
What I didnt know was that people did the residency twice, once out and the other in the States, that can be useful in terms of succeeding at the residency program, we finish here university at 24 years of age, with residency turns easily +5years, I dont know when american students finish but I dont think its this late. But for me neurosurgery (at least i change my opinion to other specialty i would like to do, im between 2 at the moment that i really like) is so important it doesnt matter how hard, excruciating and competitive it is I will work towards completing it.
 
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mmmcdowe

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For documentation and bureau work I mean all the papers I need to have and also the corresponding recognition of titles etc...
As for my motivation all I want is to treat people with movement disorders or brain cancer, Im not sure about which of both I will finally choose, so my main goal is pediatric neurosurgery, and be able to help all children with this very serious conditions( from clinical and research points of view, and i think my country lacks both of them). If it was for money I wouldnt even started med school, I personally think for making money there are plenty of other not so hard options that can make someone rich, easier and faster.

What I didnt know was that people did the residency twice, once out and the other in the States, that can be useful in terms of succeeding at the residency program, we finish here university at 24 years of age, with residency turns easily +5years, I dont know when american students finish but I dont think its this late. But for me neurosurgery (at least i change my opinion to other specialty i would like to do, im between 2 at the moment that i really like) is so important it doesnt matter how hard, excruciating and competitive it is I will work towards completing it.
American students do University and then medical school. It is not uncommon to be 26 to 28 at the start of residency. What is the other specialty?
 
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leandrogao

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American students do University and then medical school. It is not uncommon to be 26 to 28 at the start of residency. What is the other specialty?
The other one I have thought of, but is not as appealing as neurosurgery for me, probably because I know less this one, is orthopedic surgery. As for neurosurgery the info I have about it are some surgery videos I have seen, some posts here that I have read and also the book and documental film of Henry Mash.
 

DarkHorizon

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The other one I have thought of, but is not as appealing as neurosurgery for me, probably because I know less this one, is orthopedic surgery. As for neurosurgery the info I have about it are some surgery videos I have seen, some posts here that I have read and also the book and documental film of Henry Mash.

You have some very high aspirations. Orthopedic surgery is not any less competitive than neurosurgery btw. Good luck to you!
 
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mmmcdowe

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The other one I have thought of, but is not as appealing as neurosurgery for me, probably because I know less this one, is orthopedic surgery. As for neurosurgery the info I have about it are some surgery videos I have seen, some posts here that I have read and also the book and documental film of Henry Mash.

I would point out that most neurosurgeons do mostly spine. Further Ortho has more spots but I don't know if they are more welcoming of FMGs.
 
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leandrogao

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I would point out that most neurosurgeons do mostly spine. Further Ortho has more spots but I don't know if they are more welcoming of FMGs.
And to me its spine what less interests me of all neurosurgery haha. Do they mostly do spine because of preference, less difficult or due to higher number of cases?
 
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leandrogao

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You have some very high aspirations. Orthopedic surgery is not any less competitive than neurosurgery btw. Good luck to you!
Thank you very much!! I aim to those because I really feel I would love doing them, but if not everything goes as planned I have as B plan neurology and plan C if everything goes really bad, I would choose something that will always be needed like anesthesiology or oncology; but I do not know how are they compared to ns or ortho.
 

mmmcdowe

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And to me its spine what less interests me of all neurosurgery haha. Do they mostly do spine because of preference, less difficult or due to higher number of cases?
It is just much more common a pathology than cranial disease.
 
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leandrogao

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It is just much more common a pathology than cranial disease.
Thank you very much! Albeit I would choose other pathologies if I have a choice, I would not mind about doing spine (and I think is what is more done in private practice).
Btw, I have a question about, if it is better to have already done the specialty before applying to USA's STEPS and do residency again, does it matter ( appart from the quality of the learning I receive) to the examiners what country and at which hospital have I done the anterior residency? As EU citizen I can have the choice to where I can go to residency inside the EU, only being the language a problem (I speak Spanish, English, a bit of French and I am learning German) just to know if some countries or specific hospitals are better than others regarding the posterior US "match".
 
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SurgeonAtlas

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Hi, I am from Spain too and I am applying to General Surgery this year. You can private message me and I will solve your doubts
 
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Margo

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Hello everyone. As the title says, I am a medical student in Spain. My dream is to become neurosurgeon at the States, but for what I have found, it is quite complex the path to follow and I have some doubts about it. To begin with, I have finished 2nd year of med school (out of 6 here, I think it is similar to the UK), and I feel now is the moment to start preparing for the future I dream. I have read that I need to do STEPs 1,2 and 3(if I want to get a job there) in order to be able to apply for a residency program; albeit, I have read that there are also some other important elements that are if not required, recommended to get into residency.
Thus, I would really like to ask you for a bit of help about how really ,apart from what official websites tell, the path really is and what should I need to get there if I even can.
Thanks to everyone for spending their time reading me!
I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Hi, you may want to reach out to Dr. Kasia Czerniecka Fox. She completed medical school in Poland and neurosurgery residency at the University of Rochester. She is now a practicing neurosurgeon alongside her neurosurgeon husband she met in residency. A power couple!
 
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