Balkan Sahin, Sahin Hanalioglu
World Neurosurgery. Available online May 8, 2021.
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant transformation in medical practice and training. This nationwide survey study aims to evaluate the 1-year impact of the pandemic on training of neurosurgical residents.
A 38-question web-based survey was sent to 356 neurosurgery residents. Two hundred thirty-five participated in the study (66% response rate) representing more than half of all neurosurgical residents in the country.
Assignment to direct COVID-19 medical care was very common (85.5%). A high proportion of the neurosurgery residents (37.9%) were tested positive for COVID-19. Almost half of the respondents reported a decrease in work-hours. Most participants (84.3%) reported a decline in total operative case volume (mean change:−29.1±1.6%), largely due to drop in elective (−33.2±1.6%) as opposed to emergency cases (−5.1±1.8%). For theoretical education, most respondents (54.9%) indicated a negative, whereas 25.1% reported a positive impact. For practical training, vast majority (78.7%) reported an adverse effect. Decrease in elective surgical case volume predicted a positive impact on theoretical but negative impact on practical training. Research productivity was reported by 33.2% to decrease, by 23% to increase. Forty-two percent indicated an increase in concerns about their training and career, with negative impact on practical training being the most important predictor. Majority (57.4%) have considered extending residency training to overcome negative effects of the pandemic.
COVID-19 has had to have a significant impact on neurosurgical practice and training. Effective measures should be employed to mitigate these effects and better prepare for the future challenges.