Teaching for the transition: The Canadian PGY-1 neurosurgery 'rookie camp'
Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
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Background: Transitioning from medical school to residency is difficult and stressful, necessitating innovation in easing this transition. In response, a Canadian neurosurgical Rookie Camp was designed and implemented to foster acquisition of technical, cognitive and behavioral skills among incoming Canadian post graduate year one (PGY-1) neurosurgery residents. Methods: The inaugural Rookie Camp was held in July 2012 in Halifax. The curriculum was developed based on a national needs-assessment and consisted of a pre-course manual, 7 case-based stations, 4 procedural skills stations and 2 group discussions. The content was clinically focused, used a variety of teaching methods, and addressed multiple CanMEDS competencies. Evaluation included participant and faculty surveys and a pre-course, post-course, and 3-month retention knowledge test. Results: 17 of 23 PGY-1 Canadian neurosurgical residents participated in the Camp. All agreed the course content was relevant for PGY-1 training and the experience prepared them for residency. All participants would recommend the course to future neurosurgical residents. A statistically significant improvement was observed in knowledge related to course content (F(2,32) = 7.572, p<0.002). There were no significant differences between post-test and retention-test scores at three months. Conclusion: The inaugural Canadian Neurosurgery Rookie Camp for PGY-1 residents was successfully delivered, with engagement from participants, training programs, the Canadian Neurosurgical Society, and the Royal College. In addition to providing fundamental knowledge, which was shown to be retained, the course eased junior residents' transition to residency by fostering camaraderie and socialization within the specialty.