There are two teaching institutions involved with the neurosurgical program. These are Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph's Healthcare. Hamilton Health Sciences incorporates the Hamilton General Hospital where the bulk of the adult neurosurgery occurs, McMaster University Medical Centre which includes the Children's Hospital where pediatric neurosurgical rotations take place, and the Juravinski Hospital, which is closely affiliated with a modern cancer centre with facilities for radiosurgery. The neurosurgical group consults as well at St. Joseph's Hospital where a moderate amount of less intensive neurosurgical procedures occur. All of the mandatory and elective rotations will take place at these institutions.
The residency rotations are designed to meet the requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
The program is flexible enough to allow for individual resident requirements and interests. For example, should a resident wish to specialize in functional neurosurgery (not currently available at our centre), we will facilitate some exposure in this subspecialty at a mutually agreeable teaching institution.
PGY-1 & 2
There are two years of Surgical Foundations. At the completion of the two years, all the residents are required to pass the principles of surgery examinations and the MCCQE part II examinations. The first year rotations are in general surgery and ICU, as well as allied surgical specialities, enabling the residents to successfully participate in the required examinations.
This year, designed to be spent in neurosurgery and neurosurgical research that can hopefully be tailored to the residents' needs, be it basic science or clinical. Those residents that choose to continue doing clinical work during this period will be allowed to do so. A junior pediatric rotation may take place either in PGY-2 or PGY-3, based on the educational needs of the resident.
The PGY-4 year is spent predominantly in neurosurgery. A three month rotation will also be arranged at McMaster University Medical Centre in pediatric neurosurgery.
The PGY-5 year is spent completely in general adult neurosurgery. This year will bolster the residents' comfort and experience with all facets of neurosurgical practice. This will include exposure to ambulatory practice, operating room experience and participation in satellite clinics.
The last year of the neurosurgical program will be spent in adult neurosurgery, and geared towards producing an independent neurosurgeon capable of making balanced clinical decisions based on sound judgment and available evidence.
In the first 2 years of the program, seminars related to the principles of surgery are organized by the Surgical Foundations program director. These sessions are mandatory for the Surgical Foundations residents. Didactic and interactive teaching/learning occurs during weekly seminars all through the residency program.
The residents are strongly encouraged to apply for the epidemiology program leading to a Master's at the end of completion of coursework and thesis. Any interest in research will also be encouraged, be it clinical or basic science.
Candidates are graded based on their academic records, the curriculum vitae, and the CaRMS application, along with the strength of the references. Final decisions will be made by the Residency Program Committee (RPC).