Education Research: Variation in priorities for neurocritical care education expressed across role groups


To define expectations for neurocritical care (NCC) core competencies vs competencies considered within the domain of other subspecialists.


An electronic survey was disseminated nationally to NCC nurses, physicians, fellows, and neurology residents through Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education neurology residency program directors, United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties neurocritical care fellowship program directors, and members of the Neurocritical Care Society.


A total of 268 neurocritical care providers and neurology residents from 30 institutions responded. Overall, >90% supported NCC graduates independently interpreting and managing systemic and cerebral hemodynamic data, or performing brain death determination, neurovascular ultrasound, vascular access, and airway management. Over 75% endorsed that NCC graduates should independently interpret EEG and perform bronchoscopies. Fewer but substantial respondents supported graduates being independent performing intracranial bolt (45.8%), ventriculostomy (39.0%), tracheostomy (39.8%), or gastrostomy (19.1%) procedures. Trainees differed from physicians and program directors, respectively, by advocating independence in EEG interpretation (92.8%, 61.8%, and 65.3%) and PEG placement (29.3%, 9.1%, and 8.5%).


Broad support exists across NCC role groups for wide-ranging NCC competencies including skills often performed by other neurology and non-neurology subspecialties. Variations highlight natural divergences in expectations among trainee, physician, and nurse role groups. These results establish expectations for core competencies within NCC and initiate dialogue across subspecialties about best practice standards for the spectrum of critically ill patients requiring neurologic care.

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