For neurosurgery residents Travis Hill, MD, and Dennis London, MD, the choice of the three-year MD pathway was a no-brainer (pardon the expression). Dr. Hill, a member of NYU School of Medicine’s inaugural three-year class in 2016, had already earned his PhD in neuroscience from the University of California, Davis. Meanwhile, Dr. London, a graduate of the next class, who earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, knew his calling was neurosurgery and research since he was a teenager.
How did they feel on their first day of residency? “The learning curve is steep regardless of the path you choose,” Dr. London acknowledges. “But I actually couldn’t imagine having done what I did as I began my residency without the ‘cushion’ that the three-year program gave me. I have been involved with the Department of Neurosurgery since day one of medical school.”
Dr. Hill echoes that sentiment. “It’s an incredible amount of responsibility,” says Dr. Hill, who recalls the intimidation of July 1: holding the pager, responding to traumas, and fielding consults. “But I don’t think I could have felt any more prepared—even if I’d done a fourth year. I was ready.”
“The accelerated students are already up to speed on things that a regular first-year resident can spend two years learning.” John G. Golfinos, MD, Chair of The Department of Neurosurgery.
As to the question of competency and professionalism among accelerated learners, it’s no question at all, according to John G. Golfinos, MD, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. “Even as medical students, the three-year pathway students begin to function early on like first-year residents,” says Dr. Golfinos, “so they’re already up to speed on things that a regular first-year resident can spend two years learning.”