As a trainee neurosurgeon, you spend more time in the operating room than on the lab. In later years, you’ll take on more administrative duties such as scheduling junior residents and taking care of operating rooms. You may also work as the chief on call, assisting junior residents on the floor and being a resource for the younger ones. A neurosurgeon’s work is demanding, but rewarding.
The pursuit of excellence is inbuilt into the practice of neurosurgery. Almost every residency program includes elective time for research, and most academic neurosurgeons participate in some form of research. Neurobiology and clinical research are rapidly expanding scientific fields, and neurosurgeons have unparalleled access to human brains and spines for research. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll be a fantastic role model for fellow trainees.
Neurosurgeons are highly paid. Compared to other medical specialists, their salaries may be unfair. In addition to high pay, neurosurgeons must also deal with intense emotional work. For example, they may help save the lives of children with brain trauma, perform spine surgeries, or restore function to patients with spinal cord injuries. But neurosurgeons’ lives are never simple. It takes great stamina to make it through the seven-year residency and grueling hours as an attending.
A Neurosurgical residency is an exciting and challenging career choice. It can be emotionally and physically exhausting, but many neurosurgeons also participate in academics and take research from bench to bedside. And the variety of work in a neurosurgical residency is what makes neurosurgery so great. If you want to take care of people and see them through their darkest moments, neurosurgery may be for you.