Neurosurgeon as educator: a review of principles of adult education and assessment applied to neurosurgery.

Journal of Neurosurgery. Published online: October 2017. DOI: DOI: 10.3171/2017.3.JNS17242

Jensen RL, Alzhrani G, Kestle JRW, Brockmeyer DL, Lamb SM, Couldwell WT.


Traditionally, neurosurgical education is carried out by academically inclined neurosurgeons at teaching institutions. For the most part, these neurosurgeons are excellent role models who teach by example, but who lack formal instruction in adult educational principles; however, increasing pressure for more formalized educational methods in resident training exists.17,81 This pressure to increase the efficacy of neurosurgical education has developed for several reasons, including resident duty-hour restraints, public concerns about supervision of trainees, and the realization that the ever-increasing fund of knowledge required by a practicing neurosurgeon mandates acquiring lifelong learning skills.8,41,43,44,58,72 Furthermore, the contemporary neurosurgeon is expected to be the leader of a medical team that includes advanced practice clinicians, operating room nurses and technicians, and staff in the intensive care and surgical wards. Part of this leadership role involves the instruction, supervision, and assessment of those involved in caring for patients with neurological illnesses. Furthermore, a neurosurgeon is responsible for the education of patients and patient families before treatment plans can be formulated. The goal of this paper is to review the literature regarding education in neurosurgery and to identify principles of adult learning and assessment that should be woven into the framework of neurosurgery education.