Neurologists are physicians who are responsible for all aspects of patients' neurological care, including examination, diagnosis, and referral. They service a wide variety of patients, including those with sleep disorders, spinal cord or central nervous system injuries, genetic abnormalities, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis. Neurologists treat established neurological patients by prescribing drugs or treatments and other therapies such as diet and lifestyle changes. Typically, they receive referrals from non-specialist physicians or emergency room personnel to make a diagnoses and provide patient treatment for neurological issues. Often, neurologists sub-specialize into a specific area of expertise. In these cases, they will be primarily responsible only for issues related to that particular area of expertise (such as multiple sclerosis) and refer and communicate other issues back to the patient’s primary care physician for treatment.
Neurologists work in a few different environments. They may work in private practice in a medical office setting, providing specialized care to a certain subset of neurological patients. They may work in a hospital setting and serve a more general patient base, including referrals from other hospital departments related to neurological issues. Some travel may be required to work with patients in various situations, including their home or other hospitals.
Extensive education including a doctor of medicine degree (MD) with board certification in neurology is required. Licensing by state and federal agencies is also required. In some positions, certification in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) is needed, as neurological patients may be in danger of severe and quick changes in health status.
Physician / Doctor, Neurologist Tasks
- Provide patient-specific treatment plans and interventions to manage and treat conditions.
- Order and interpret diagnostic images and tests to diagnose neurological conditions.
- Examine and investigate potential neurological conditions in patients.
- Advise patients and families about conditions, treatments, prognosis, and side effects.