Neurology is one of the most intriguing fields of medical studies because it entails the study of one of the most complex organs- the brain. Like any medical specialization, it requires several years of hard work and ongoing learning.
Yet the effort is worthwhile because it sets you up for a rewarding and lucrative career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of a neurologist in the US is $255,510.
These professionals can work in hospital settings, run specialty clinics, or develop a career in education and research. The projected growth rate in the field is 7% from 2018-2028, spelling a great future ahead.
The numbers are inspiring enough to consider a career in neurology. However, you should be committed to a long and tiring journey with endless hours of study and skill development.
Additionally, you will have to develop communication skills, problem-solving capabilities, and dexterity. In this article, we will share a few career tips to get a head start as an aspiring neurologist.
Build a Robust Foundation
A robust foundation is where everything starts, and building it isn’t something you should do in medical school. Begin early during the high school years, fueling your interest in the human brain.
Digging deep into the anatomy of the brain will develop your interest in the field. Study complex topics like the role of arbor vitae in brain function, neuropsychiatry, neural engineering, and neurological diseases.
Proprep notes that visualizing concepts through video tutorials is the best way to understand them. An online platform offering such learning resources can help you excel in your pre-medical courses.
Maintaining a high GPA can help you get into a reputable medical school. Beyond academics, relevant extracurricular activities such as research projects or internships contribute to the career foundation.
Choose a Well-Rounded Medical School
Acing your pre-medical courses and getting through medical entrance are only the initial steps. The medical school you choose can be a key factor in deciding your success as a neurologist.
While you may have multiple options, consider a reputable and well-rounded institution with a strong neurology department to gain the relevant Education.
Also, check the experience of the faculty and dig deep into the curriculum. A school offering a specialized neurology research program is an ideal choice for aspiring neurologists.
Finding the right institution may require a lot of research, but you shouldn’t settle for less. It is the starting point of your journey, so you should choose wisely.
Gain Hands-On Clinical Experience
According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the academic curriculum includes hands-on clinical training for students. Most schools include the clinical portion of the training in the last two years.
Students go for clinical rotations to gain hands-on experience with patients in the major specialties. As an aspiring neurologist, you can gain early exposure to the clinical environment even before the formal one in medical school.
Seek opportunities to volunteer at Healthcare facilities, participate in clinical internships, or shadow experienced neurologists.
With this experience, you get insights into the responsibilities of a neurologist and develop a compassionate bedside manner and essential interpersonal skills.
Build a Professional Network
Networking is vital for any career field, and neurology is no exception. To gain a head start, you can attend neurology conferences, workshops, and seminars during your medical school years.
Be proactive about approaching top professionals in the industry and connecting with peers during these events.
That’s a good way to start building a network. Consider joining relevant professional organizations and using social media platforms to connect with the industry stalwarts.
Networking can help you establish relationships with mentors and get guidance, support, and valuable insights from seasoned neurologists. You can also rely on your network to stay updated on industry trends.
Stay Informed and Adapt
Like any field of medicine, neurology is a rapidly evolving domain with continuous advancements in research and technology. According to the Lancet Neurology, personalized virtual brain models are being used to improve medicine for epilepsy.
Similarly, new technologies are emerging as saviors for addressing progressive multiple sclerosis.
Stay informed about the latest breakthroughs, medical publications, and research studies in the field. Adopt a mindset of continuous learning and be ready to adapt to emerging trends. You can also consider pursuing subspecialties within neurology to stay competitive and relevant.
Neurology is a lucrative field, and it is also rewarding as it offers the opportunity to improve the quality of life of patients. According to data, the US is facing an acute shortage in the field, which is another good reason to join the industry.
The future holds boundless opportunities, but becoming a neurologist requires passion, hard work, and dedication. Although you cannot take shortcuts, these tips can give you a head start and take you on the right track.