A Day in the Life: Neurosurgery Residents

The sun is still asleep when Neurosurgery residents arrive at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  
 
“I usually get in around 5:30 - 6 in the morning,” said Christopher Busch, D.O., a fourth-year Neurosurgery resident at Carilion Clinic.
 
“We have a list of our patients that we have to see, that are either pre-ops or post-ops or trauma patients. Just kind of a variety and we split the list,” explained Cara Rogers, M.D., a fifth-year Neurosurgery resident at Carilion.  
 
“Every day is a little bit different, which is what I think with neurosurgery is unique,” said Dr. Busch. 
 
“Then, when we get together, I’ve seen my section of patients and then I report how they’re feeling, how they’re doing, whatever new lab values or imaging that has come up for them since we last saw them,” said Dr. Rogers. “And then we make a plan for the day as a team.” 
 
“It's always everyone’s checking each other,” said Dr. Busch. “It’s just to make sure at the end of the day, you take care of the patient in the best possible way.” 
 
Next the residents go into surgery where they’re partnered with neurosurgeons like Eric Marvin, D.O.
 
“We do maintain a very rigorous program here,” explained Dr. Marvin. “Being able to juggle multiple crises and multiple issues at one time is what we see as paramount to being a good, solid and competent neurosurgeon.”  
 
The residents also have other duties outside the hospital. From tumor boards to caring for patients in the clinic to the classroom.  
 
“You have academics every week that you have presentations that you have to create,” said Dr. Rogers. “You have research that you have to be working on outside of your normal duties at the hospital.”
  
After a busy day at the hospital, Dr. Busch will take his turn on call.  
 
“Sometimes you won’t have any surgeries in the middle of the night,” said Dr. Busch. “Other times you have four or five surgeries in the middle of the night. It just depends.” 
 
A busy schedule. But these residents wouldn’t have it any other way.  
 
“It’s just nonstop,” said Dr. Busch. “There’s never really any downtime, but there’s never really a dull moment.” 
 
“We’re incredibly, incredibly privileged to be able to do this type of work,” added Dr. Rogers.  
 
“You have patients that are sick, sick, sick that are knocking on death’s door that you can truly save,” said Dr. Busch. “That is what it’s all about. That’s what makes it worthwhile.”