Frequently Asked Resident Questions

What are the clinical rotations?

There are several inpatient teams at Stanford University Hospital. Together they cover general neurology, stroke, epilepsy, and neurocritical care patients. There is also a busy consult service seeing patients throughout the hospital and in the emergency room. There are typically six (6) Neurology Residents assigned to the different teams in the daytime, and one other resident assigned to take call at night (i.e. "night float"). Other team members include Neurosurgery and Psychiatry Interns, Internal Medicine Residents, and local and visiting medical students. The patient load varies greatly, but the inpatient service, neurocritical care service, and consult services are typically quite busy.

Lucille Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH) is one of the premier children's hospitals in the United States. The neurology team at LPCH is covered each month by two or more Neurology Residents, sometimes with a medical student and/or a Pediatric Resident. This is a very busy, primarily consultative service that sees patients in the neonatal ICU, the pediatric ICU, and throughout the hospital.

The Stanford outpatient clinic experience includes rotations in General Neurology and Child Neurology, and multiple neurologic subspecialties such as Epilepsy, Movement Disorder, Neuromuscular Disease, Headache, Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Neuro-Oncology, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Headache, and Stroke. All patients in the clinics may be seen by residents and students. The department does not have private practice patients.

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) is the second busiest hospital in California. The breadth of cases seen at this county facility is remarkable. The Neurology service at SCVMC provides outpatient clinic and inpatient consult services. There are one junior resident and one senior resident on the adult service, and one resident on the Child Neurology service. Although the services do not have their own ward patients, both the clinics and the consult services are very busy.

The Palo Alto VA Medical Center is a modern VA facility about one mile south of Stanford University. Like SCVMC, it is also a purely consultative service. There are inpatient consults every day, and a busy outpatient clinic is in session almost every weekday. A junior resident and a senior resident staff the service.

What are some teaching conferences devoted to residents?

Case-based learning is a strong emphasis of the program. Cases are presented at Morning Report, Professor's rounds, Quality Assurance conferences, and Neurology Clinical Pathology Conferences to illustrate and teach a systematic approach to neurologic diseases. Neurology Grand Rounds are devoted to cutting edge basic neuroscience and clinical neurology, presented by invited speakers as well as our own faculty and members of the Stanford community. Didactic lectures are given during the residents' Educational Half-day' on Wednesday afternoons; neuroradiology, neurophysiology, neuropathology, and neuroanatomy is an important part of this. Popular conferences include optional subspecialty conferences in Stroke, Clinical Neurophysiology, Epilepsy, Neuromuscular diseases,neuro-oncology tumor board, etc. There are frequent lectures on neuroscience, ethics, health care policy, education, and other important topics in the School of Medicine and throughout the University. When you visit, please talk to our residents or ask for a copy of the Department calendar.

How often am I on call?

Residents are required to stay in-house only when they cover the adult neurology service at Stanford University Hospital. The PGY2 and PGY3 residents take all of these in-house calls, primarily through a night-float system. Night float is six nights per week, with the seventh night (Friday) being done by the "swing shift" resident.  This amounts to 4 to 6 weeks of night-float plus sporadic call coverage on weekends during other rotations in the first two years. Coverage of the child neurology, VA, and Santa Clara Valley services is done from home.  You are expected to have a cellular phone and to be able to drive between hospitals.

Are there sufficient patients for residency training?

Absolutely! Although Stanford has become justly famous as a research-intensive university, its clinical programs serve a diverse patient population in a densely populated region. As the population of Silicon Valley has increased dramatically in the last several decades with the growth of high technology, so too has the patient base. In fact, we have the second highest number of neurology inpatients of any academic hospital in California. Despite the busy services, residents have time to read and learn neurology, thanks to the excellent ancillary services at all the hospitals, and the emphasis on consult and outpatient neurology on the non-Stanford clinical services.

Can I afford to live in Silicon Valley?

It is no secret that even faculty members complain about the affordability of housing. The opportunities in Silicon Valley, the weather and geography, and the quality public schools have attracted young professionals and families to the area.  The city of Palo Alto, where Stanford is located, is generally the most expensive because of its highly regarded public school system. Some Stanford-owned units are available on campus (e.g. Welch Road Apartments) at below market rates. Other studios and apartments in adjacent cities such as Menlo Park, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Redwood City are available at $800 to $1500 per month within 20 minutes of the medical center.

What is it like to live near Stanford and Palo Alto?

The School of Medicine is located on the main campus of Stanford University, one of the world's premier institutions of higher education. Students and residents have access to all of the remarkable intellectual, cultural, and recreational opportunities of Stanford. Resources include the graduate and undergraduate libraries, athletic facilities, Pac-10 sporting events, concerts, theater, and film series. About two-thirds of the 8180 acres of the campus are open space, and are popular among hikers and joggers. The region is a haven for outdoor activities. The Northern California coastline, coastal mountains, San Francisco, and San Jose are within an hour of driving. Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks, ski areas around Lake Tahoe, Carmel, Big Sur, Napa and Sonoma wine country, the Marin Headlands, Point Reyes, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, and many other attractions are within easy driving distance. It is no wonder that people come to visit Northern California from all over the world. To live here is a great privilege.