Become a Neurologist: Step-by-Step Career Guide
All careers in medicine mandate you to spend long years in school studying hard as well as having passion and determination to reach your career goals for you to succeed. Neurology is no different.
To become a neurologist, you have to put in the work required and follow all the necessary steps to reach your goal.
So, if you’re an aspiring neurologist, or you just want to gather information on how to become a neurologist, then you’ll want to read this article right to the end as it discusses just that.
Right before we discuss the steps you need to take to become a neurologist, a proper definition of what a neurologist is will be given and afterwards dome of the responsibilities of a neurologist.
What is a Neurologist?
A neurologist is a doctor who focuses on identifying and treating conditions that affect the brain and nervous system.
Epilepsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s, strokes, and Parkinson’s disease are examples of neurological diseases.
To practice their expertise, neurologists frequently spend several years in school, accumulating priceless medical knowledge and experience.
Steps You Can follow to become a neurologist:
Below are some of the unavoidable steps that all individuals who aim to become a neurologist need to take.
1. Obtain an Undergraduate Degree From A Qualified Tertiary institution
Although you can pursue a career as a neurologist with several undergraduate degrees, biology, physics, and chemistry degrees are some of the most important ones.
Pre-med degrees are also offered by several colleges and institutions, and they include a wide range of topics related to the medical field.
It can be beneficial to discuss options that can help you further enhance your resume and skills for medical school with your professors and school instructors while you are still enrolled in a college or university.
2. Enroll For Important Internships
You want to find apprenticeships or other relevant experiences that will make your resume stand out to admissions committees before submitting an application to medical school.
Look at internships that provide you with clinical experience, patient encounters, or lab research exposure.
You could, for instance, look for an internship at a medical facility.
These kinds of internships can not only give you valuable knowledge and skills that will help you as a medical doctor, but they can also demonstrate to medical schools your tenacity and enthusiasm for the field.
3. Attend Medical School
Neurologists are required to graduate from medical school prior to starting their careers because they deal with patients in person.
You must first pass the medical college admission test to be accepted into medical school (MCAT).
It can be quite helpful to use resources like a test-preparation class, a tutor, or a study group because medical schools frequently take the results of this test very seriously.
About half of the time spent in medical school which typically lasts four years is spent in the classroom learning about the theory and practice of medicine.
The second half of medical school for a neurologist may be spent gaining experience, such as by working at a teaching hospital under the direction of licensed medical personnel.
4. Finish A Medical Residency Internship
A year-long internship is part of a medical residency program, where you can gain the knowledge and abilities necessary to become a successful neurologist.
Following the medical residency, you may complete a full residency at a hospital for up to four years to train with an active neurologist.
Throughout your internship, you can practice patient examinations, procedures, and disease and serious illness diagnoses.
5. Pass Your Certification Tests And Obtain Your Medical License
After completing your residence, you can sit for the necessary certification exams and get a state license.
Typically, this entails sitting for tests that include both written and oral portions.
You can apply for and obtain your certificate and license to practice medicine and become a neurologist in the state of your choice after passing these exams
6. Study Other Subspecialties of Neurology
To improve their effectiveness and understanding of neurology, several neurologists devote a few more years to studying particular subspecialties.
Through a fellowship program, neurologists can acquire these subspecialties, which can include a focus on parasympathetic disorders, epilepsy, sleep medicine, neuro-oncology, neurological repair and rehabilitation, neuroimaging, and more.
Subspecialties can help you advance as a doctor and neurologist, as well as expand your work options and even open doors to more senior administration jobs.
Some common subspecialties in neurology include; Vascular neurology, headache, behavioral neuroscience, pediatric neurology, clinical neurophysiology and movement disorders.
7. Specialize In Neurology
You can choose where you want to work as a neurologist after obtaining your qualification and licensure and have decided whether you want to specialize.
Although many neurologists serve patients in hospitals, there are other possible job settings you could fit into.
These include but are not limited to: Government research on neurology, private practice as a neurologist, lecturing in Tertiary institutions, disease research, etc.
Responsibilities Of a Neurologist
Even a profession has responsibilities and duties attached to it.
Some of the responsibilities that you should expect to handle if you want to become a neurologist are discussed below.
Read Also: How Do I Become a Neuro sonographer
1. Implement Procedures
Lumbar punctures, spinal monitoring, nerve conduction investigations, and seizure monitoring are a few examples of the specialized procedures that neurologists may perform.
To identify potential treatments or strategies to aid their patients, neurologists can use these procedures to help them identify specific patterns of their patients’ ailments.
Some neurologists with particular training can also carry out more difficult procedures, such as helping patients with more severe disorders.
2. Collaborate with other physicians
To assist other doctors with their patients and queries regarding specific neurological conditions, neurologists can also contribute their knowledge and skills.
For instance, if a surgeon is worried about protecting a patient’s nervous system during surgery, they may consult a neurologist to help out.
4. Inspecting Patients
Neurologists often interact with and check patients to make sure their nervous systems and brain are functioning normally.
Neurologists can do tests during normal exams that don’t need specialized heavy equipment, like checking reflexes, verbal responses, and motor capabilities.
This can assist them in finding anomalies and establishing diagnoses.
5. Conducting Specific Exams
Specialized tests that can produce accurate reports on the patient’s neurological system’s operations can also be carried out by a neurologist.
These examinations may involve computed tomography (CT) scans, spinal fluid analyses, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans (CT).
Neurologists can better comprehend the conditions of their patients thanks to the results of each test and analysis, which may then be used to discover treatments or other solutions.
Other typical daily responsibilities that neurologists deal with include:
- Taking part in studies to ascertain the origin of or find a cure for neurological diseases.
- Having a discussion about neurological issues with patients.
- Determining a patient’s condition based on their medical history, physical examination, and findings of diagnostic tests.
- Creating therapy programs to assist patients in managing neurological conditions.
- Performing lumbar punctures and administering epidural or spinal locks.
- Keeping track of patient records
Four Skills Every Neurologist Must Have
1. Great Communication Skills
When talking with other physicians and going through crucial information with patients and patient family members, neurologists put their effective verbal communication abilities to the test.
When they write procedure reports and keep track of patients’ records, they also make good use of their writing abilities.
So cultivating good listening, speaking, and writing skills are important.
2. Leadership Skills
Neurologists frequently collaborate with medical staff to carry out their duties.
Neurologists must have excellent leadership skills to explain tasks and occasionally physically demonstrate how to do operations when their team assists them with tests and treatments.
3. Skills in Problem-solving
Neurologists utilize strong critical thinking to identify potential patient conditions and identify any disorders after conducting testing and reviewing the results. Having this skill is a must if you want to succeed as a neurologist.
A very steady and agile hand is necessary for some examinations and procedures that neurologists do.
Neurologists need dexterity to perform procedures like lumbar punctures and skin and muscle biopsies.
Neurology is a very large and important aspect of medicine and this is why becoming a neurologist is not an easy thing to do.
This article has shown all the necessary steps you’ll need to take on this journey as well as the responsibilities you’ll face and the skills needed to succeed as a neurologist.
Any further inquiry on how to become a neurologist is welcome in the comments section.
Does Neurology Need Math?
Yes, advanced math is compulsory. Calculus, statistics, or both are required for advanced math.
Additional typical prerequisites include biology, chemistry, physics, organic chemistry, and microbiology.
Future neurologists would benefit from electives that focus on human anatomy or how the brain works, such as cognitive psychology.
What Subjects Are Needed For Neurology?
A typical study plan for those aspiring neurologists includes advanced classes in brain anatomy, medical diagnostics, and clinical research.
Is It Hard To Study Neurology?
According to a survey of American medical students and residents, neurology is one of the most challenging medical specialities.
Do I need Physics To Become A Neurologist?
While there are several college degrees that can help you work toward becoming a neurologist, biology, physics, and chemistry are some of the most important.
Can You Be A Neurologist Without Doing Surgery?
Neurologists do not do surgery, however, both neurosurgeons and neurologists diagnose and treat diseases involving the neurological system.
The main goal of neurologists is to identify neurological problems that are treatable with drugs or other treatments and are specific to a given diagnosis.
Do Neurologists Study Depression?
Neurologists are experts in treating physical disorders brought on by diseases or injuries to the neurological system.
Conditions involving brain function or chemicals are not treated by them.
Are Neurologists Better Than Psychiatrists?
Both neurologists and psychiatrists treat illnesses and ailments that affect the brain and the psyche.
However, while psychiatrists focus on psychological issues, neurologists are experts in physiological illnesses.
How Many Hours Do Neurologists Work?
Neurologists may work in private practices or hospitals. However, Their typical working hours in a week are around 40 hours.