Aurora Semerano, MD

Lloret-Villas MI, Butt A, Khan K, Shuaib A. Days and Nights of a Stroke Fellow at a Comprehensive Stroke Center: Program Structure and Patients Encountered. Stroke. 2020;51:e301–e304.

With the growing advances and complexity in the current “new era” of stroke care history, there is an increasing need for professional figures with strong and specific training in stroke medicine, which includes the development of robust skills in resource organization, clinical decision-making, research insight and network building.

Stroke fellowship is a valuable gym for neurologists that want to become experts in stroke. It consists of a 1- or 2-year training program focused on cerebrovascular diseases, with large exposure to stroke cases within a stimulating educational environment. Stroke fellowships are now offered in many countries, evolve over time mirroring the progressive clinical advances, and can have different characteristics reflecting the territorial organization of stroke care.

In this article published in Stroke’s InterSECT section, which is dedicated to early career and training, Lloret-Villas et al. share the program structure of the stroke fellowship at University of Alberta Hospital (UAH). The academic activities during the fellowship include stroke and neurointerventional rounds, lectures on stroke epidemiology, journal clubs, group discussions on specific topics and neurosonology teaching sessions. Research activity and participation of fellows in clinical stroke trials are also encouraged. The authors also depict a descriptive analysis of stroke cases seen in the Emergency Department by one of the fellows during a year of fellowship. Stroke management exposure with the fellow as first responder is impressive, with more than 300 patients attended by a single fellow in one year. From the fellow’s perspective, we, as readers, can really perceive the rhythm of the nights and days spent during the training period. This multitude of patient scenarios constitutes a precious toolbox for the complex decision-making process in stroke care, and a valuable experience to draw on in the entire future career.

Both future fellows and mentors will appreciate this article, which is a reflection upon the continuous evolution of the training programs, their adaptation to the local reality, and the development of core curriculum objectives and additional resources to augment the educational experience and encourage individual growth and aspirations.