Numerous careers are available for those interested in working with the study or treatment of the nervous system. The nervous system is complex and divided into the peripheral and central nervous systems. People who study the nervous system and those who treat those with nervous system disorders make a positive impact on the lives of patients.
A neurologist is a medical doctor who determines and treats disorders of the nervous system. She diagnoses nervous system problems through patient examinations and the use of diagnostic testing, such as electroencephalography, MRIs or CAT scans. Becoming a neurologist requires four years of college education with a concentration in science, followed by four years of training and education at a medical school. A year of internship is required after medical school, with three years of a neurology residency also required.
A neurosurgeon is a medical doctor who treats disorders of the nervous system. He may perform surgery on areas of the nervous system as part of a patient's treatment. Some of the medical conditions treated by a neurosurgeon are spinal and brain tumors, epilepsy, spinal cord injury and cerebral aneurysm. After completion of a medical school program, a student who intends to become a neurosurgeon is required to do a one- to two-year internship. This training is followed by a five- to seven-year residency training period.
A neuroscientist is someone who has completed graduate work in the study of the nervous system. Some people choose to combine a doctorate with a medical degree. Others choose to further their education and training by completing a fellowship after their doctoral degree. With an advanced degree in neurology, you can teach at a university or college. Your work may include performing research. Some of the job sectors that also employ neuroscientists include pharmaceutical companies, medical instrument companies, biotechnology companies, government agencies and medical centers.
Caring for Patients
A neuroscience nurse is someone who cares for patients with neurological problems. To specialize as a neuroscience nurse, you will need training beyond a registered nurse education. Schools like Johns Hopkins University offer such training programs. A neuroscience specialty nurse may also complete the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse credential. Patient care for the neuroscience nurse may include the monitoring of neurological functioning, providing postsurgical care, administering medications and instructing patients on their neurological conditions.