Teaching and Research Training
It is through undergraduate and postgraduate teaching that we maintain community standards of care for neurosurgical problems. Contact at either medical student or in the early post graduate years encourages potential trainees into neurosurgery. The Chair has acted as a focus for increasing participation in these teaching programmes.
For over 40 years the RAH Department of Neurosurgery has been a centre accredited by the RACS for the clinical training of neurosurgeons; under the current Directorship of Associate Professor Brian Brophy, the Department has an excellent reputation. Specific training in spinal surgery is also offered as a Fellowship in conjunction with the Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeons and we plan a combined Neurosurgical /Orthopaedic Spinal Service with a shared ward.
Research training is considered a high priority as a part of the training of neurosurgeons. During the 6 years of neurosurgical training one full year is designated as a research year. The Board of Neurosurgery has as a requirement that the 4th year will be spent in research. Many trainees develop an increased interest in research in that year and seek to further their research by entering a higher degree programme such as a PhD or MD. We can therefore expect an increase in the numbers of neurosurgical trainees undertaking higher degrees probably pursuing an academic career. The development of high quality research positions with adequate funding means that there is now a career path in Australia for academic neurosurgeons; research training no longer needs to be done overseas.
The NRF showed great foresight in establishing the first Chair of Neurosurgical Research in Australia. During the past 8 years the chair has provided research training for a large number of future neurosurgeons and neuroscientists. There is now an even greater opportunity to attract neurosurgical trainees as the RACS has recognised the importance to the community of research. There will be no shortage of trainees wishing to join our research programme and although we have concentrated on basic science projects in recent years, this will allow us to expand our clinical research.