Neurosurgical training in Ireland fosters personal, professional growth

Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD, speaks at the recent annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. The association awarded him the Cushing Medal for distinguished work in neurosurgery.

Through an elective rotation that began nearly 15 years ago, neurosurgery residents at Washington University School of Medicine have an opportunity to see how complex neurosurgical procedures are performed in another country with a markedly different health-care system.

The residents who participate in the six-month program travel to Dublin in their sixth year of training to work at Beaumont Hospital and, some of them, the affiliated Temple Street Children’s Hospital. The hospitals are part of an academic medical center and are major referral sites for neurosurgery cases.

“Functioning in a totally different system, they learn the essential elements of our specialty and what aspects of care may be of lower value,” said Dacey, who initiated the program in 2000. “They realize the strengths of our system and the strengths of alternative systems and become more prudent stewards of resources in our country.”


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