The Characteristics of a Neurosurgeon

Neurosurgeons spend a lot of time in the operating suite.
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A neurosurgeon performs surgeries on patients with brain, spinal cord and central nervous system conditions. Much of the work includes removing tumors and making repairs to spinal cords. Though well-paid, with salaries often reaching the upper six figures level, neurosurgeons need a specialized mix of qualities to go along with their medical technical training.


    The ability to relax before, during and after surgery is a must for a neurosurgeon to stay healthy. The brain, spine and nervous system are among the most delicate and important elements of the human body. Thus, virtually every time a neurosurgeon operates, she must have steady hands and a calming influence on her team. This is especially true during emergency calls, when surgeons have little to no warning that they will have to perform a critical surgery.

Intrinsic Motivation

    While patients and family members may appreciate the work of a neurosurgeon, especially when she is successful, it isn't a highly glamorous profession. You often complete your work and then move on to the next case or surgery with little more than a few words with family and friends. Money is certainly an external motivator, but neurosurgeons generally need a high level of internal motivation to stay passionate and committed to a highly stressful, but highly important job.

Communication Skills

    Neurosurgeons typically need to communicate well to succeed. This begins with listening to patients and other medical professionals to understand the needs of the patient. It continues as you analyze and then share recommended treatments or procedures with a patient and his family. During surgery, you need to communicate quickly and assertively with other doctors and nurses to get the tools and support needed. Following surgery, you must communicate the results with family, and sometimes, soothe their emotions.


    Neurosurgeons can't afford to be late or check out early from responsibilities. They must have high levels of responsibility, accountability and dependability. In emergency situations, on-call neurosurgeons must act quickly to complete surgery in which time is of the essence. In other cases, being on time and attentive in scheduled surgeries raises the odds of success in operations. Neurosurgeons must also show dependability in communicating with other doctors and nurses and in showing up well-rested and in a clear state to perform vary delicate surgery.

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