Neurologists are physicians who diagnose and treat conditions associated with the brain and nervous system. Their typical day includes treating everything from minor headaches to serious brain injuries. Depending on where they work, neurologists can keep bankers-like hours. Among the highest paid specialists in the medical field, neurologists enjoy six-figure salaries.
What They Do
Because their field of study focuses on the brain, neurologists can diagnose and treat a long list of diseases and disorders. This list includes epilepsy, stroke, sleep disorders, cerebral palsy, tumors in the brain and spinal cord, multiple sclerosis and meningitis. They also treat neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Sometimes they must treat unexplained neurological disorders. The complexities of the brain and conditions associated with it, offer neurologists variety in their work.
Most neurologists work in a medical office or hospital. They put in more than the typical 40 hours a week. However, neurologists in private practice can keep consistent hours. They are supported by administrative staff and medical assistants. Neurologists who work in hospitals see more urgent and emergency cases. They also put in longer hours. Neurologists who work in research facilities or medical schools enjoy the typical nine-to-five work day.
Working With Patients
Whether working in an office or hospital, neurologists typically see 14 to 16 patients a day, many of them follow-up visits. Some common symptoms of patients included headaches, blackouts, vertigo or movement issues associated with Parkinson's disease. They use CAT scans and MRI scans and other imaging machines to assist with diagnoses. Watching a patient decline without being able to fix their problem is one of the biggest challenges for neurologists. However, one of the greatest rewards is helping a patient recover from serious neurological setbacks.
Continued Education and Collaboration
To remain informed, neurologists conduct research and collaborate with colleagues. They can obtain additional certifications through organizations such as the American Academy of Neurology and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Neurologists collaborate with neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists on a weekly basis. Because issues with the brain overlap with many conditions, neurologists often work with physicians outside of their field. Besides those in neurology subspecialties, neurologists also work closely with speech therapists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.
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