Perhaps the most important teaching residents receive is through interactions with faculty during direct patient care in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Residents rotate regularly in all of the various sub-specialty clinics, where they are exposed to a wide variety of complex patients and participate in the most up-to-date care in the field. On inpatient services, residents and faculty complete bedside rounds together, allowing detailed discussions of each patient and how they represent principles of neurologic disease and management. Most importantly, all of our faculty have open-door policies and are more than happy to discuss any patient with the residents at any time. This policy gives each resident the chance to take advantage of the breadth and depth of expertise that exists within the division.
Our residents enjoy daily noon conferences that are provided by faculty from our division and several other related specialties. From July-August, these are focused on the foundations of pediatric neurology, as well as potential emergencies, which prepares newer residents for their graduated responsibilities that come with the start of the new academic year and provides experienced residents with a review of key topics. Throughout the remainder of the year, noon conferences cover a wide range of categories outlined below.
- Child neuro core curriculum: Topical lectures from child neurology faculty experts on disorders within our many sub-divisions including: Epilepsy, Movement Disorders, Neuroimmunology, Neuromuscle, Neonatal Neurology, Neurocritical Care, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Neuro-oncology, Neurogenetics, General Neurology, Neuropsychology and Sleep Neurology.
- Clinical Neurosciences (CNS) conference: Weekly topical lectures presented to both adult and pediatric neurology residents
- Journal club: About twice per month, one resident will present a recent journal article to the division. Residents choose a faculty advisor to help with interpretation and context of the article. Sessions are well-attended by faculty and often generate excellent discussions on evidence-based care for our patients.
- Resident report: Approximately monthly, residents present recent difficult or interesting patient cases for discussion. Faculty and residents discuss patient presentation, workup, differential and results if known.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion curriculum: Dedicated engagement and training sessions are held by Wash-U HR employees. In addition, during all core curriculum lectures, faculty dedicate at least one to two slides to DEI in the context of their topical presentation.
- Wellness conferences: About twice per month we hold conferences dedicated to wellness, including Resident Townhalls, wellness “check-in” sessions and mindfulness sessions.
- Ancillary curriculum: Dedicated lectures on topics such as business of medicine, billing and documentation and career-planning.
- Neurogenetics conference: On a monthly basis, we have a shared conference with the Department of Genetics in which one to two residents present interesting neurogenetics cases and generate discussion amongst colleagues.
- Morbidity and mortality conference: Each resident is assigned one M&M conference session in the PGY4 year. With faculty support, a patient-safety related issue is identified and discussed with a multidisciplinary audience. Faculty and staff from other departments are invited to join when the issue relates to their work.
- Quality improvement conference: Residents are given the opportunity to present their quality improvement projects to the division. We also have QI workshop sessions with pediatrics faculty with expertise in this area to help our residents develop successful projects.
- Neuroscience grand rounds and clinical research conferences: Local and invited faculty present clinically-relevant research to the division.
- Advocacy curriculum: In the spring, we have several lectures dedicated to advocacy from a variety of perspectives including legal, parental and clinical.
Other conferences that occur outside the noon hour include: epilepsy conference (every Monday afternoon), neuro-radiology conference (every Thursday morning) and neurocritical care journal club (monthly on a Thursday afternoon). Residents are invited to attend all of these sessions.
We are always adding and expanding our conferences based on resident interest and learning needs. For example, this year we are collaborating with our palliative care colleagues to develop a series on communication skills and delivering bad news.
Pediatric neurology resident teaching to pediatric neurology residents and faculty
One of the most important reasons we expanded the number of residents in our program was to foster the development of a community of learners. Residents have many opportunities to teach each other and the faculty. Two of our favorite conferences are journal club and resident report. During journal club, a resident presents an article from the literature and leads a discussion among the entire division with support from a faculty advisor. Resident report is led by a senior resident facilitating discussion of an interesting case on the wards with input from faculty. Perhaps the most important peer-to-peer teaching occurs during the spontaneous case discussions between residents and faculty.
Pediatric neurology resident teaching to others
Pediatric neurology lies at the intersection of many disciplines. Thus, our residents play an integral role in the education of trainees in many other areas. The pediatric neurology residents supervise and teach an entire inpatient team of pediatric residents during their inpatient service. We have teaching sessions with the pediatrics interns twice weekly when they are on neurology inpatient service about core topics in neurology. The pediatric neurology residents also supervise and teach the adult neurology rotators during their time on pediatric neurology rotations as well as medical students that rotate both in the clinics and on the wards.
There is an elective that pediatric neurology residents can choose to do called the teach elective. This is dedicated time for the resident to develop their skills as an educator. They use this time to engage with medical students and residents and learn about educational design, delivery and assessment. Our residents are regularly invited to give presentations during the Department of Pediatrics noon clinical conference and at other conferences within other departments in the hospital. In fact, in the 2021-22 academic year, one of our pediatric neurology residents received the outstanding fellow teaching award from the pediatrics residents.