As per the findings of the World Health Organization (WHO), neurological disorders affect almost a billion people around the world. Other than that, approximately 50 million people suffer from epilepsy and 24 million suffer from some kind of dementia.
Neurological disorders affect people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and income levels, and over 6 million people die each year from neurological complications.
For patients with neurological conditions, access to quality care is a challenge and thus the need for qualified physicians in diagnosing and treating such ailments is growing. To explore this field and to learn what is neurology and what do neurologists do, let us now read about it in brief detail.
Neurology – what is it?
According to researchers from a renowned Caribbean medical school, Neurology is a field of medicine dealing & managing conditions of and within the nervous system. This includes the neurons, blood vessels, muscles, brain, and spinal cord. The physicians who research, diagnose, and treat these conditions are referred to as neurologists.
As the brain controls nearly every function within the body, it is a primary focal point within the field of neurology. Physicians who work in neurology aim to treat and cure neurological diseases, but they are also concerned with improving the quality of life for patients with impaired brain function, either as a result of an injury or as a side effect of a neurological condition.
What does a neurologist do?
Like many other physicians, neurologists are primarily focused on diagnosing and treating diseases. For them, these diseases are limited to those that affect the nervous system. They may also work directly with patients in a clinical capacity, perform studies on the disease in a research capacity, or manage neurology departments and teams in an administrative capacity.
While working with patients, neurologists will visit with patients, order tests, perform skilled procedures, consult with other physicians, and documenting paperwork. The work is diverse and complex but is quite dynamic, satisfying, and regarding.
A medical student’s path to becoming a neurologist
In undergraduate work, students can start with pre-med or another related degree (Nursing, public health, biological sciences, etc.).This helps them be on the path to studying neurology (though it is not a requirement for a career in neurology but is a requirement).
Aspiring neurologists need to be accepted into medical school students with a good GPA and very good MCAT scores. They also need to complete an accredited program for a reputed and well recognized medical school (for the degree of Doctor of Medicine).
Students should also start making connections with their course instructors, faculty members, senior physicians, seniors, nurses, health specialists, peers, and other experienced people in the field as early as they can. This helps them during the competitive residency matching process and in the professional field too.
Exploring the different career pathways neurology has and that too early on can help identify specialties of interest and outline a path to attaining targeted career objectives.
The education and training of neurologists
To become a neurologist, students should complete 4 years of undergraduate work followed by 4 years of medical school. The specialty would obviously be neurology and its fields. Upon graduating from medical school, students will complete a 1-year internship followed by 3 years in a neurology residency program.
A lot of neurologists will also choose to complete a fellowship in their chosen area of subspecialty, and fellowships last between 1 to 2 years.
Once a medical student specializes in neurology, they can select from among the many several official subspecialties recognized by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which are as under:
- Brain injury medicine.
- Clinical neurophysiology.
- Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology
- Neurodevelopmental disabilities.
- Neuromuscular medicine.
- Pain Medicine.
- Sleep Medicine.
- Vascular Neurology.
Neurology helps physician deal with conditions and injuries affecting the nervous system and help patients recover from ailments.
With the environment of today becoming more stressful than ever, it has also become paramount for neurologists to deliver the best medical care they can to patients from all age groups
Ranging from strokes, concussions and sports induced injuries; neurologists research on them and treat them as well. Keeping in mind the stressful environment around, it is time that medical students consider specializing in neurology to help people with neurological disorders.