The brain’s tender tissue makes this all-important organ an easy one to damage. Neurosurgeons tackle the tremendous task of patching up brains when an injury or illness presents a neurological problem. Because these surgeons deal with such a sensitive organ, the ramifications of mistakes are serious. In providing their care, practicing neurosurgeons take on an array of tasks.
Before neurosurgeons can perform their magic in operating rooms, they must determine their patients' problems. These medical professionals diagnose conditions of the brain and spinal cord by evaluating test results, including reading CT scans or MRIs to take peeks into their patients’ bodies before these individuals go under the knife.
Create Care Plan
Once neurosurgeons determine what issues their patients are suffering from, they must design treatment plans. To do this, they must use their expertise to determine how to best remedy the medical issue. After deciding upon a course of action – or devising a couple options – neurosurgeons must present their medical opinions to the patients and seek their approval to proceed.
Though operating is the job duty for which this occupation gets its name, it only represents a small part of what neurosurgeons actually do. Only after diagnosing and careful planning do neurosurgeons actually step into the operating room and perform the surgeries for which they were so carefully trained. Because of their complex nature, however, surgeries to the brain and spinal cord can be very long and taxing.
Provide Pre- and Post- Operation Care
Though nurses take on many of the tedious patient-care duties that are necessary immediately before and after a surgery, neurosurgeons still need to check in on their patients in the pre- and post-operative wards. They must monitor these patients carefully pre-surgery to ensure that nothing has changed, and check up on them post-surgery to assess whether the surgical attempts at fixing the problem were successful or, instead, if additional treatment will be necessary.
Someone has to take on the task of training new neurosurgeons, and who better to teach the new crop of would-be doctors than someone with experience? Some neurosurgeons spend part or all of their days training doctoral candidates at medical colleges or teaching hospitals. These neurosurgeons may take a break from normal duties and teach full time, or teach for a portion of the day and perform their other duties during the remaining hours.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.