The stresses of modern medicine place neurosurgeons at substantial risk of emotional and psychological distress. They function in a high-end, high stakes, rapidly changing, multi-tasked environment, fraught with inescapably poor outcomes, human tragedies, risk of litigation, unrelenting demands, and so much more. No wonder nearly one in every two neurosurgeons experiences burnout, significant work-home conflict, and other maladaptive sequelae(McAbee et al, 2015; Shanafelt et al., 2012). Neurosurgical residents are particularly vulnerable. Neurosurgical residency is a crucible from which few escape unscathed. The interplay of tremendous daily physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges with a resident’s personality type and coping style determines (for better or worse) his or her functionality, fulfillment, and emotional tone; and greatly affects his or her growth and development as a physician and neurosurgeon. Coping patterns learned during residency may impact and permeate a surgeon’s entire professional life (as well as personal life). Thus, the more resilient a resident is to the daily stressors of neurosurgical training, the more likely he or she will lead a happy, fulfilling and productive career. The purpose of this book is to offer insights and details from our experience, with the hope of encouraging a greater focus on the psychological well being of neurosurgical trainees. We will describe many tactics and strategies that may be employed to enhance the residents’ resiliency (with respect to myriad of challenges and stressors of their daily experience). These measures may be initiated independently or, more ideally, as part of a deliberately planned and enacted framework of intervention, fully integrated into the residency program’s culture.
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