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About Blake

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  • Birthday 02/11/1985

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  1. Oh man, what an hilarious post. So much truth about the credentialism. I'm barely using my MSc and I don't care at all. So glad to be out of the academic rat race.
  2. I will complete my neurosurgery residency this year and I wanted to add my 2 cents to this topic. Personally I am happy with my career choice and I wouldn't do it anything else (even if offered derm/ENT/rad/ophtho). I thought neurosurgery was the coolest thing as a 3rd year med student, and I still think it is the coolest thing now that I've actually dissected and clipped aneurysms, instrumented lots of spinal columns and evacuated a bunch of hematomas. I'm overall satisfied with the care we provide to patients with debilitating conditions, and honestly I feel that we help out people 95% of the time. People tend to focus on the terrible outcomes, and neglect the forest behind the tree. About the prestige thing, well I guess that depends on the individual. Pretty sure none of my neighbours ever found out what I did for work, and I can't pull the neurosurgeon card on my wife to get what I want so I guess tough luck for me, haha. Over the years, I have seen plenty of premed, med students, residents and staff with ginormous egoes, so I don't think that this is exclusive to our field. I just like being chill and courteous to everyone. Call it good manners, I guess. I am not a deity, nor the president of the USA or NASA's top astronaut, so keeping the ego to a minimum is only reasonable. Not sure where A-stark had his neurosurgery experience, but that is different from mine. Most of our craniotomies here for GBM/mets take 3-4 hours, and I haven't been that often in 9 hours surgeries. Again I see a comment about poor outcomes and how patients don't return to their baseline. Not trying to sell you on neurosurgery, but let's be honest, there is absolutely no way that we would still be allowed to practice if there was no overall patient care benefit to our field. By the way, there are plenty of low risk procedures in neurosurgery. Not trying to toot my own horn, but I don't stress at all whenever I do most shunts, bur holes, lumbar + cervical laminectomies, ACDFs, lumbar microdiscectomies, convexity meningiomas, frontal or temporal pole tumors, acute SDH evacuation, etc. The bread and butter of neurosurgery is fairly easy to do, honestly. There are still a few things I wouldn't want to do often such as ruptured giant aneurysms, glioma resection in the motor strip, thoracotomies and retroperitoneal approaches for multilevel spinal decompression + fusion, endonasal resection of chordomas, brainstem cavernoma resection, etc but only a few guys in the whole country have such complex practices. As for fellowships, it is my understanding that fellows do get to bill as surgical assistants and so on, provided they pass the FRCSC exam. I expect to make some decent change next year, and this was clearly discussed in my fellowship interviews. I like neurosurgery a lot, but it did not stop me from having a life. I think my wife and family would agree. I may have been in a unusual position though, and I don't chat that often with guys in other programs so maybe I've had it way easier than the rest of my colleagues. All I know is I've gone through residency relatively easily, without any major fuss. I didn't sacrifice that much in my personal life (I got married to an amazing woman, I still read the news and watch sports, I have watched every episode of Game of Thrones, and I can still kick ass at videogames), I've developed some pretty amazing skills over the years, I have cared for thousands of patients and I bet most of them are thankful. I am not worried for a job after my fellowship (I will leave it at that), and my dream car list is only getting bigger. So yea, don't feel too sorry for me as I am exactly where I wanted to be.
  3. I feel sorry for the cardiac surg residents when it comes to job prospects. And I am in neurosurgery, so that should give you a clue. Truth be told, although neurosurg has it pretty bad here in Canada, it is one of the most attractive surgical specialties south of the border, so a canadian graduate can "buy low, then sell high". The thing is cardiac surgery has a terrible job market essentially anywhere on the planet, and I don't see the field expanding, unlike many other surgical specialties.
  4. Zero truth to that, in my opinion. Canadian training is pretty homogeneous, unlike american training which is more hit and miss. Don't get me wrong, most american neurosurgery centers would be excellent places to train, but there are places where you shouldn't even set a foot. The only difference I can see is that the americans spend 7 years for their residency (6-8 years programs are rare), whereas we spend 6 years. They may give you a hard time if you haven't completed "x" amount of neurosurgery blocks during your residency, due to it being shorter, but again this shouldn't stop you from getting a job south of the border.
  5. Thanks man! A canadian neurosurgery board certification is valid in the USA, and they know this. Officially however, they will not really recognize it to be equal to their training. Some states may give you an harder time then some others, but bottom line is that recent canadian grads have been hired all across the country. Lawyers may need to get involved, but it's definitely doable, if you're desired. I know a guy who is currently sitting on 3 job offers in the states (Florida, California, Washington), so it's not all limited to Idaho and Wisconsin (not that there is anything wrong with those places).
  6. I am currently a neurosurgery chief resident, and the stories are true. The job situation is pretty bad. You will likely need a PhD to stand a chance of getting a job outside your home program. I know several folks doing 2-4 years of fellowship to be competitive. That said, it is not all so bad... The actual clinical work is fascinating. Clipping aneurysms still makes me feel like a million bucks. Saving people from death with a bedside EVD is pretty neat. Spinal instrumentation is pretty cool to do. Being in the OR is pretty much always fun for me, so it doesn't feel like work, really. The job market is great in the USA, so there is always that possibility. If you're dead set on staying in Canada, then it gets much harder, but I know young neurosurgery staff with minimal research and 1 fellowship who got hired by their home program, so it is still doable, especially in smaller programs. Despite all the issues with this field, I am still glad I get to be trained in it. Maybe I am crazy, but I suspect that I will be practicing neurosurgery for the majority of my life, regardless of many hoops I have to jump through to get there. And that, my friend, is pretty exciting. P.S. My plan B is to be a stay-at-home dad. Not too shabby either, haha.
  7. Same goes for radiology. Watch the CARMS applications decrease steadily over the next decade. Maybe it will also make the average ophtho/rad doc more pleasant to work with (I have unfortunately met too many not-so-friendly residents/staff in these particular fields, and I am not the only one suspecting it is largely due to the size of the bank account).
  8. Not sure if that's the right answer, but I agree that a 5% cut is not going to affect them very much. I can already picture Mcguinty and his gang watching this topic and laughing their way to the bank. Divide and conquer does work well!
  9. Yea... I am not going through 10+ years of neurosurgery residency/PhD/fellowship working 90+ hours per week dealing with the sickest patients out there to make close to average GP salary. But life is not very fair anyway, so I won't complain too much. Just a little.
  10. Yea, that wouldn't go well. I'm pretty chill myself compared to most of my surgical co-residents, but I couldn't do FP, IM, path, derm, anesthesia, etc even if my life depended on it. As the saying goes, often wrong but never in doubt, haha.
  11. Choroid plexus tumor Central neurocytoma Thalamic glioma Colloid cyst Trigone meningioma Large ependymoma etc
  12. Heard the sweet sound coming from a Porsche 997.2 GTS as I was driving to work last week. The things I would do to own one of those beauties. What a rear end! But I digress... Seriously, maybe doc #1 is actually happy with his porsches, mansion and trophy wife?
  13. It's by far the most fascinating field in medicine. And that's the bottom line. People can say whatever they want about our field, but neurosurgeons know this is it. Period.
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