Exploring the neurosurgery training landscape in Pakistan: A trainee's perspective in resource-limited settings

Muhammad Shakir, Hammad Atif Irshad, Aly Hamza Khowaja, Ahmed Altaf, Syed Ather Enam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Shortage of neurosurgeons in Pakistan, one per 720,000 people, stems from a lack of trainees. Therefore, it is vital to assess the training experience, career opportunities, and satisfaction levels of neurosurgical trainees in Pakistan. Methods: A nationwide survey was conducted, covering 22 CPSP-accredited neurosurgery training programs in Pakistan. Convenience sampling was utilized with a pilot tested questionnaire and responses were analyzed using STATA 15. Results: The response rate was 98% (120/122) with 70.8% male and mean age of 30.4 ± 4.1 years. Training programs included teaching courses (79%) and journal club (66%); however, there was a lack of cadaver workshops (14%) and cranial model-based stimulation (22%). 67% of trainees lacked publications in indexed journals. 69% worked 50–100 h weekly, with 62% experiencing burnout due to workload and hours and a third reporting poor work-life balance. Trainees dedicated more to operating rooms (37%, 10–24 h/week) and clinics (34%, 24–48 h/week) compared to study (42%, <5 h/week) and research (64%, <5 h/week). Gender equality was rated poorly by 50%. Disparities emerged in subspecialty exposure, with over half of trainees lacking exposure to deep brain stimulation (67%), and epilepsy (75%). 52.5% of the training institutes did not offer fellowships and 64.1% of trainees planned to pursue fellowships abroad. Conclusions: Steps need to be taken to improve working hours, gender equity, and increase simulation courses, diversify subspecialty exposure, and promote research initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100346
JournalWorld Neurosurgery: X
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Developing Country
  • Neurosurgery
  • Residency
  • Surgical training

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