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What to Expect From a Career as a Neurologist

By J. Cutler

Neurologists encounter many different tasks from day to day. Depending on the specialization of each physician and his or her particular caseload, many treatments and tests can comprise an average day. For example, a neurologist might diagnose a patient’s sleep disorder symptoms using special tests that involve brain wave mapping, eye tracking, or breathing data. A neurologist might also use an MRI to study the brain patterns of an individual injured in an accident. For older patients, a neurologist might administer reflex exams to determine whether a patient’s nervous system has been damaged. Neurologists perform examinations of the nerves in the head and neck, test for muscle strength and movement, balance, ambulation and reflexes, and check things such as memory, speech, language, and other cognitive abilities. Some diagnostic tests that are commonly used include a CAT (computed axial tomography) scan, a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), and an EMG/NCV (electromyography/nerve conduction velocity). All this makes for an extremely interesting career.

The human nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and a huge network of nerves that form electrical connections throughout your body. Neurologists treat and diagnose any problems that arise within the nervous system. As mentioned above, these problems can arise due to accident, aging, or disease. Some of the personal qualities usually associated with neurologists include being highly observant, empathetic, and analytical. These traits are needed in order to properly gauge the condition of the patient and then analyze the situation appropriately to provide adequate care. In addition to examining and diagnosing a patient, the neurologist may also need to coordinate neurological services with other health care teams, communicate the findings of any tests with other healthcare professionals, or even make the difficult determination that brain death has occurred. For this reason, empathy is an important quality for a neurologist. In many cases, the physician will also need to inform patients or families of neurological diagnoses and prognoses, along with the benefits, drawbacks, and costs for each suggested course of treatment.

The job outlook for neurologists is excellent. Between the years of 2012 and 2020, the projected job growth is much faster than average – 21% or more each year! That fact, combined with the annual median salary of $206,000 translates into a stable career path with high earning potential.

A general neurologist might have a schedule such that most patients are seen in the general office. Two weeks out of every 8 could be spent “on call” for the emergency room (to treat patients needing emergency care who require the specialization of a neurologist in particular). The general neurologist might also squeeze the teaching of medical residents and physician assistants into this schedule, along with the supervision of their work. Research time is also allocated, so that the physician can pursue and publish on unique solutions to medical problems. For these individuals, there is nothing quite so challenging and interesting as the human brain and nervous system. Many doctors find the complex problems with which they are presented to be a challenge that brings reward when the correct diagnosis is reached. For many, finding a position that combines clinical experience, teaching, and some research is the ideal. This combination allows for interaction with patients while at the same time providing exposure to (and a hand in) exciting new breakthroughs in the field.

For great neurology jobs, visit Physicians Employment. You can view permanent or locum neurology jobs. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=J._Cutler

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