How can I study neurology?

Neurology is a vital field of medicine for many people, as it helps to improve the quality of life of patients with disabilities or chronic diseases through the understanding of the most complex organ, the brain.

In this brief guide, we’re going to answer the question “How can I study neurology?’’ diseases treated by neurologists, skills required, and how and where do they work. 

How can I study neurology?

Becoming a neurologist or neurosurgeon is a satisfying career choice, however, isn’t easy. You’ll need to have a high level of interest to make it.  

The field of neurology is so detailed, the amount of education you’ll need is extensive. First of all, it must be clear that the only way to be a neurologist is through a career in Medicine. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to overcome several stages to reach the goal:

Get a bachelor’s degree

No specific specialization is required for undergraduate studies. Either way, post-secondary education is essential. You should research universities with excellent reputations and an excellent pre-medical curriculum and choose the one that interests you the most in attending.

Pre-med courses typically include microbiology, biochemistry, and human anatomy. Aspiring neurologists can benefit from concentrating their studies in biological sciences, chemistry, physics, to increase your chance in admission requirements for medical school.

But is having a bachelor’s degree really important? Yes, the goal of your bachelor’s degree is to prepare you for medical school, which would be the next step to get closer to your goal of becoming a neurologist.

MCAT and Apply to Medical Schools

All medical schools require potential students to take an entrance exam known as MCAT® (Medical College Admission Test).

During the third year of an undergraduate program, aspiring neurologists must take and pass the MCAT. This exam allows medical schools to assess an applicant’s training and knowledge through a skills assessment and a set of multiple-choice questions.

They must then submit their applications through an online service run by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The admissions are highly competitive. So you should get a minimum score on the MCAT if you want an admission interview at any medical school.

Obtain a Medical Degree

Once you’re in medical school, you must complete four years of studies to graduate. The education you’ll receive will be intensive and full-time activity. Study medicine it’s a big challenge, but if you have the passion and are willing to put in the required effort, it’s worth the hard work.

Internship or residency program in neurosurgery

A medical intern is a physician-in-training who has completed medical school and has a medical degree but doesn’t yet have a license to practice medicine without supervision.

The internship will allow you to apply everything you learned in medical school. This practical experience will make you a better physician and further prepare you for your neurology major.

While doing your internship, you should look for an exclusive residency program for the neurological specialty.

Upon completion of your internship, you’ll enter your residency program. For the non-surgical neurologist, The training of a neurologist includes a residency of 3 to 7 years. You’ll make hospital visits with a supervising neurologist and have the opportunity to monitor patients and perhaps examine them yourself.

Training for a neurologist will include a one-year internship in internal medicine (or two years of pediatrics for child neurologists) and at least three years of specialized residency training in neurology.

Adult neurology training can be obtained through a categorical program (one that includes four years of training) or an advanced program (one that includes three years of training after completing a separate one-year internship). However, if you want to be a neurosurgeon, the residency will take six to eight years.

Get your license

To officially practice as a doctor, you must obtain certification.

The first thing you’ve to do in this process is to apply for the exam through the United States Medical Licensing Examination Organization.  This consists of a three-step process sponsored by the FSMB (Federation of State Medical Boards )  and NBME (the National Board of Medical Examiners). You also can research extra information through the American Medical Association (AMA).

These tests assess your ability to apply the knowledge, principles, and concepts you’ve learned in school to actual practice.

Upon completion, you’ll have independent verification that you can practice safe and effective patient care. These tests are rigorous and, as with the MCAT, it’s strongly recommended that you take the time to participate in a review course before attempting any of the exams.

For details on how to become certified as a neurologist or neurosurgeon, visit ABMS.

What’s neurology?

The neurologist is the physician specialized in the study, prevention, and treatment of diseases of the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system (nerves and muscles).

What diseases does the neurologist treat?

The functions of the human body are controlled in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, together constituting what is known as the nervous system. When a part of this system doesn’t work, there are usually difficulties to develop vital actions. Habitual actions such as moving, breathing, speaking, using memory and senses, or maintaining a balanced state of mind become difficult.

Currently, more than 600 neurological diseases can alter these functions and trigger symptoms and signs that change life at once. Among them, the most common diseases and those with the highest incidence in the population are:

  • Dementias The main ones are Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body disease, vascular dementia, and mild cognitive impairment.
  • Inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system. There would be meningitis and encephalitis.
  • Neoplasms of the nervous system, such as astrocytoma and meningioma.
  • Extrapyramidal disorders and pathologies related to movement. The most important is Parkinson’s disease.
  • Demyelinating diseases. The most important example is multiple sclerosis.
  • Polyneuropathies. The main ones are peripheral neuropathy and Guillain-Barré disease.
  • Vascular diseases Cerebral infarction, ischemic attack, and intracranial hemorrhage stand out.
  • Diseases of the nerve roots and their paths. The main ones are carpal tunnel syndrome and Trigeminal neuralgia.
  • Paroxysmal disorders. Epilepsy, migraines, and narcolepsy.

What skills are important to a neurologist?

Given that neurology is a vital field of medicine for many people since it helps to improve the quality of life of patients with disabilities or chronic diseases, these general but key points for the performance of this profession should be highlighted:

  • Ability and interest in solving complex problems.
  • Common sense.
  • Ability to give a topographic and differential diagnosis.
  • Willingness to work long hours.
  • Mathematical and analytical intellectual orientation.

How does the neurologist work?

The neurologist listens to the patient and asks him about specific aspects of his ailments. Then it explores the nervous system by verifying how muscle strength, reflexes, sensitivities, balance, and many other aspects work according to the disorder for which the patient consults. 

In addition, the neurologist uses, when necessary, the most modern technologies to confirm or discover the cause of their disorders.

Sometimes the collaboration of a psychologist is required to diagnose the mental aspects of the problems for which they are consulted. The neurologist always collaborates with your family doctor, so that the control of the treatment and the monitoring of the evolution of your disease is guaranteed.

Where do neurologists work?

After 10 years of training, finding a job is a long-awaited reward. Fortunately, neurology is one of the careers with the highest employability rate. If you-re a neurologist, you-ll have two great options: practice as a doctor or dedicate yourself to research and dissemination. In addition, they are perfectly compatible activities. Broadly speaking, a neurology professional can work in these areas:

  • Public healthcare.
  • Private sanity.
  • Health foundations.
  • Scientific research centers.
  • University teaching.

Neurology and neurosurgery are the same?

Neurosurgery and neurology are two totally different concepts, despite this, it has the characteristic of studying and analyzing the nervous system, brain, spinal cord of the human body. So, what’s the difference?

Neurosurgery is the science of medicine that is responsible for manipulating and carrying out operations that will be applied within the nervous system, brain, spinal cord and other nerves that connect from one place to another by sending electrical signals to the entire body and its organs.

Therefore, this science is very familiar with neurology, so the feature that makes the difference between these two medicines is that the neurologist is the doctor who fulfills the task of raising the medical diagnosis and is in charge of writing down the treatments that the patient must comply with, while the neurology professional is the one whose main objective is to carry out the medical intervention in the nervous system.

In summary, the patient is the one who must choose between visiting a neurologist or going for neurosurgery, depending on whether he/she wishes to undergo therapies to improve his health or for immediate medical intervention.

Best neurology schools

Defining the university where you’ll study your university career is a very important decision in your life since you need to be well prepared to get a good place in the job market. That is why when choosing a university, whether public or private, it must meet your professional expectations in the short, medium, and long term.

In order for you to choose a good institution, you must start by doing extensive research that allows you to compare options and reflect on which university is the best for you.

These are the best universities of the moment for your training as a neurologist:

  •  Johns Hopkins University.
  •  Duke university.
  •  Harvard University.
  •  University of Pennsylvania.
  •  University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
  •  Washington University in St. Louis.
  •  Columbia University.
  •  Stanford University.
  •  Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.
  •  University of California – Los Angeles.

As you may have noticed, being a neurologist represents a great challenge not only for your intellectual capacity but also for your interpersonal skills, but without a doubt, it’s a profession that will give you great personal satisfaction. Is your vocation neurology? Are you interested in disorders related to the brain?

FAQSs: How can I study neurology?

What’s the average salary for neurology?

The average Neurologist salary in the United States is $258,600 as of September 25, 2020, but the range typically falls between $226,000 and $303,600.

Is being a neurologist stressful?

Being a neurologist involves working with some very sick patients at times. The neurologist is responsible to treat the degenerative disease of the nervous system that can cause death. So, yes is a very emotional stress career.

How long does it take to get into a neurologist?

The average time to complete your studies and become a neurologist is 10 years. Neurologists need a bachelor’s degree that lasts approximately 4 years, a degree from a medical school that takes 4 years, and 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.

Is neurology competitive?

No, the neurology specialty isn’t characterized for being competitive. Neurology programs generally focus on residency.

When should I see a neurologist?

Neurologists recommend going to a neurology consultation when these warning signs mainly appear: Severe or continued headache over time. Loss of sensation in the extremities or tremors. Dizziness, vertigo, or instability. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How can I study neurology?’’ diseases treated by neurologists, skills required, and how and where do they work. 

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

References

CareerExplorer. (2018, March 20). How to become a neurologist. Retrieved October 1, 2020, from Careerexplorer.com website: https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/neurologist/how-to-become/

Emanuel, E. J. (2006). Changing premed requirements and the medical curriculum. JAMA, 296(9), 1128-1131.

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