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Curriculum

Our goal is to train master clinicians in neurology. We differ from many neurology training programs in that our curriculum emphasizes outpatient neurology as much as hospital-based rotations. We want our residents to learn by seeing patients, which means that residents run the ward teams and rounds, as well as evaluate and care for outpatients.

Now is an exciting time to join our training program, as we are expanding from three residents per class to six per class over the next few years.

Curriculum Components

Our curriculum provides rigorous training in the diagnostic approach and management in all areas of neurology in both inpatient and outpatient settings, including important rotations in community-based clinics. All residents are encouraged to develop research and quality improvement projects early in their training. In all years, we strive to foster an open, dynamic learning environment that encourages discussion and debate. Each rotation block lasts four weeks.

We meet the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requirements of:

  • 18 months: Clinical Adult Neurology
  • 6 months: Adult Neurology, Inpatient
  • 6 months: Adult Neurology, Outpatient
  • 3 months: Elective
  • 3 months: Child Neurology
  • 1 month: Psychiatry
  • ½ day per week: Continuity Clinic Neuroimaging Experience
  • Critical Care Unit/Emergency Department Experience Including Acute Neurosurgical Management

First-year neurology residents are introduced to the basic clinical and scholarly experiences upon which the rest of their training is based. Residents at this level build upon their undergraduate medical education and intern knowledge base and competencies to learn how to obtain an accurate neurological history and to perform and interpret a neurological examination. PGY-2 residents develop thoughtful patient assessments and management plans to include EEGs, lumbar punctures, and CT and MRI imaging of the brain and spinal cord. They learn how to evaluate and treat both common outpatient problems (headache, dizziness, neck and back pain, peripheral neuropathies) and neurological emergencies (coma and mental status changes, stroke, seizures). Throughout their first neurology year, PGY-2 residents continue to develop and improve their written and oral communication skills. They also develop focused sign-out skills to facilitate continuity of care. They establish a framework of understanding of neurology practice that incorporates issues of patient advocacy, preventive health care, clinical ethics and effective cost containment into each aspect of their future experiences.

As they progress through their first neurology year, PGY-2 residents promote their scientific inquisitiveness by asking insightful questions, independently seeking knowledge, and reading and critiquing the medical literature. They expand their neurology knowledge base and acquire initial skills as teachers for medical students as well as for patients and their families. They also develop clinical efficiency and begin to manage the ward team to prepare for their subsequent years as proper supervisors of lower-level residents.

Typical PGY-2 Schedule

  • 7 Blocks: Inpatient/Consult General and Stroke Neurology | Dell Seton Medical Center
  • 4 Blocks: Outpatient Neurology | Austin VA Outpatient Clinic
  • 1 Block: EMU/Electroencephalogram
  • 1 Block: Elective
  • ½ Day per Week: Continuity Clinic

Total: 13

The second year of neurology training builds upon the skill and knowledge base established in the first year and uses evidence-based medicine to enhance patient care and self-improvement. Over the year, PGY-3 residents refine their clinical assessment skills, as well as perfect their history taking and neurological examination skills in infants and children. They also broaden the scope and complexity of the health care problems they address to include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, neuromuscular disease, dementia, central nervous system infections and tumors of the nervous system. PGY-3 residents are exposed to in-depth experiences in a variety of subspecialty areas, including EEG, EMG, neuroradiology and neuropathology. They show an increasing ability to practice medicine independently, and begin functioning in an effective supervisory role toward lower-level residents.

PGY-3 residents enhance their teaching role at the bedside and expand their teaching efforts in the conference room. They learn to develop effective group teaching sessions and to efficiently use available teaching materials and literary resources. Via exposure to a large number of neurological experiences, the PGY-3 residents begin to focus their career planning deliberations through discussions with faculty members and mentors, and successfully develop or confirm their future practice interests. As mid-level trainees, PGY-3 residents affirm their role as trusted patient advocates, preventive health care providers, and ethical and cost-effective practitioners.

Typical PGY-3 Schedule

  • 2 Blocks: Inpatient/Consult, Stroke Service | Dell Seton Medical Center
  • 2 Blocks: Inpatient/Consult, General Service | Dell Seton Medical Center
  • 2 Blocks: Pediatric Neurology
  • 1 Block: Outpatient Selective
  • 1 Block: Electromyography
  • 5 Blocks: Elective
  • ½ Day per Week: Continuity Clinic

Total: 13

As seniors, PGY-4 neurology residents continue to expand their knowledge base through core and subspecialty rotations, including psychiatry. As they prepare for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology’s certification examination, PGY-4 residents further refine their competence in clinical diagnostic evaluations and technical procedural skills, as well as their patient stabilization and office preparedness abilities. They practice efficiently and effectively with a significant degree of independence in the evaluation and management of patients presenting with a wide variety of inpatient and outpatient neurological disorders in preparation for future practice. They also need to be able to demonstrate level-appropriate leadership, confidence and supervisory capabilities.

As they continue to move closer to their residency commencement, PGY-4 residents assert their preceptorial and group teaching skills as they expand their capacity to critically evaluate the medical literature and to teach other health care professionals and multiple-level learners in a “round” format. They complete plans for their future careers in general neurology or in additional fellowship training as well as establish successful life-long learning habits.

Typical PGY-4 Schedule

  • 1 Block: Pediatric Neurology
  • 4 Blocks: Senior Inpatient Wards/Consult | Dell Seton Medical Center
  • 1 Block: Psychiatry
  • 2 Blocks: Outpatient Selective
  • 5 Blocks: Elective
  • ½ Day per Week: Continuity Clinic

Total: 13


Neurology Boot Camp
This lecture series provides the PGY-2 residents with an intensive overview of neurology as well as instruction in evaluation and management of neurological emergencies. These lectures are held at the Seton Brain and Spine Institute.

Neurology Core Curriculum
These lectures are held at 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Dell Seton Medical Center team room. They are designed to provide residents with the knowledge required to diagnose and treat neurology patients. Lecture topics fully prepare the residents for the American Academy of Neurology Resident In-Training Exam and American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology board exam.

Grand Rounds
Grand Rounds are held every Tuesday of every month, and are a mandatory, educationally rich conference for neurology faculty members and residents. There are didactic-style presentations on clinical and basic science topics from both internal and external speakers. Continuing Medical Education credit is provided.

Journal Club
A monthly conference designed to help residents develop skills in critically assessing the medical literature and verbally presenting their findings, Journal Clubs are usually held the second Thursday of each month at Dell Seton Medical Center starting at noon. Attendance is mandatory for all residents. Typically, two to three articles will be assigned for discussion and reviewed by the residents with a faculty moderator present.

Stroke Conference
A monthly conference on stroke is given by Steven Warach, M.D. There are case presentations, literature reviews and discussions led by the attendings from noon to 1 p.m.

Brain & Spine Rounds
Brain and spine rounds are usually held the third Friday of each month at 7 a.m. One resident is assigned to present an interesting case from the wards, consult service or clinics.

GME Lecture Series
These lectures are provided by the GME office once a month. Topics include ethical issues, professionalism, resident fatigue and other critical subjects. Attendance is mandatory and is tracked by the GME office.

Epilepsy Conference
Epilepsy Conference is led by one of our epileptologists. Difficult epilepsy patients are presented. Management and epilepsy surgery plans are discussed.