Shadowing a DoctorDecember 23, 2013
Neurologists are highly trained physicians who specialise in diagnosing and treating the diseases of the brain as well as any impairment to the spinal cord, autonomic nervous system, peripheral nerves, muscles and blood vessels that are associated with any of these structures.
Some of the health issues diagnosed and treated by a neurologist include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, Huntington’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, encephalopathy, brain tumours, meningitis, Alzheimer’s disease, tic disorders, myelitis and peripheral nervous system infections, just to name a few. Neurologists also conduct highly complex testing such as electrophysiologic testing such as electroencephalography (EEG), nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG), among others.
Workplaces for neurologists
Neurologists typically work close to 60 hours a week in hospitals, private practices or medical group offices where there might be several other physicians, all practicing either neurology or different specialties.
Another option is to work as a neurologist in the research field. The working hours for research neurologists are closer to a normal 40 hour week and generally do not include the weekend or on call hours that many other neurologists have.
If you want to become a neurologist you will first have to complete 4 years of a medical school program. Then you must go on to complete a 4-year residency program which includes 1 year of internal medicine and 3 years of neurology. If you choose to specialize, you will probably have to complete 2 additional years of training or fellowship. Before you can practice as a physician, in any speciality, you will also have to pass the Specialty Certificate Examination in Neurology. This exam is delivered once a year and is to be taken in the penultimate year of higher specialty training.
If you are particularly interested in any one of the many neurology subspecialties, you would have to do some additional training after your residency. These subspecialties include:
- Neuromuscular Medicine: Deals with disorders of nerves, muscle, or neuromuscular junction.
- Clinical Neurophysiology: Focuses on disorders of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous.
- Vascular Neurology: Focuses on diagnoses, treatment and prevention of vascular diseases of the nervous system.
- Paediatric Neurology: Deals with disorders of the brain and nervous system in children.
- Neurodevelopmental Disabilities: Focuses on chronic conditions that affect the developing and mature nervous system such as mental retardation and behavioural syndromes.
- Sleep Medicine: Focuses on conditions that occur during sleep, disturb sleep, or are affected by disturbances in the wake-sleep cycle.
The average annual salary for a neurologist in the UK is about £86,102 with a starting salary of about £64,578 and £99,880 at the higher end. Salaries differ depending on the number of years of experience and type of work setting as well as geographical location
As it is with all other types of physicians, the job outlook for neurologists is also very good with plenty of opportunities in the various sub-specialties.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.