Becoming a neurologist is a fulfilling career choice, but it is not easy to get there. Hence we will be detailing the six steps to becoming a Neurologist in Canada for you.
To become a neurologist, you must have a high level of interest, possess essential skills, and enjoy interacting with people and listening carefully to your patients.
The field of neurology is so detailed as we will discuss the steps to becoming a neurologist in Canada.
If you are pondering how to become a neurologist, you will need to consider certain things, like the number of years involved in becoming a neurologist. If not, you may find yourself giving up on the way.
So, this article will help you to know who a neurologist is, their responsibilities, how lucrative the career is, and the six steps to becoming a neurologist in Canada.
In this article
- Who is a neurologist?
- Responsibilities of a neurologist
- Why is neurology a Promising Career in Canada?
- Six steps to becoming a neurologist in Canada
- Step 1: Obtain an Undergraduate Degree
- Step 2: Take the MCAT and apply to the Medical School
- Step 3: Attend Medical School and Obtain a Medical Degree
- Step 4: Complete an Internship or Neurosurgical Residency Program
- Step 5: Get board certification and state license
- Step 6: Continuing Education
- Skills needed by a Neurologist
- #1 Communication Skills
- #2 Research Skills
- #3 Memory Skills
- Frequently Asked Questions
Who is a neurologist?
A neurologist is a medical doctor who learns what the nervous system does and how the nerves work in conjunction with the brain and the rest of the body. They specialize in treating diseases of the nervous system.
Responsibilities of a neurologist
The neurologist manages and treats neuropathy or nervous system problems. Symptoms that often require a neurologist include coordination issues, weakness, change of feeling, confusion, dizziness, and people with sensory, visual, or olfactory problems may need to see a neurologist.
Disorders of the nervous system can cause sensory problems. Therefore, the neurologist also treats the following patients: seizure disorders such as epilepsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular diseases such as myasthenia gravis, nervous system infections including encephalitis, meningitis or brain abscess, neurodegenerative diseases such as lugeric’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord diseases including inflammatory diseases and autoimmune diseases, headaches such as cluster headaches and migraines.
Why is neurology a Promising Career in Canada?
Choosing a medical specialty is a big decision. A Career in neurology means that you would be essential in treating diverse conditions with a wide array of treatments.
Other benefits of the profession include helping patients manage symptoms and live fuller lives. Attractive salaries and plentiful job opportunities are added perks of being a neurologist.
Also, one of the benefits of being a neurologist is the exciting opportunity to be on the frontier of rapidly emerging medical breakthroughs, reports the American Academy of Neurology.
The average pay for a neurologist is $296,049 a year and $142 an hour.
Six steps to becoming a neurologist in Canada
A neurologist is generally a rewarding career for people with a passion for science. However, neurologists have different job prospects and careers in Canada.
These are the six steps to becoming a neurologist in Canada:
Step 1: Obtain an Undergraduate Degree
Post-secondary education is a must. Research colleges and find the ones you are most interested in attending. Look for universities with excellent reputations and outstanding pre-medical curricula.
Undoubtedly, you will choose a major in one of the sciences like chemistry or biology. Focusing on advanced biological sciences is a good option. Pre-requisite medical courses should include microbiology, biochemistry, and human anatomy.
The objective of your undergraduate degree is to prepare you for medical school, which is the next step. Therefore, besides attending a well-respected university with an excellent science curriculum, maintaining a grade point average of 3.5 or higher is critical if you want to optimize your potential acceptance into a U.S. medical school.
By incorporating one, or all of the following activities in your undergraduate career, you may improve your chances of getting into medical school:
Job shadowing: Most colleges and universities can help you find opportunities so you can follow or shadow a neurologist or neurosurgeon throughout a workday.
Doing so gives you a good perspective on what to anticipate in these careers. It also provides some practical experience you can include in your medical school application.
Volunteer: Doing well in school -grade point average may not be enough to get into medical school. So being active in your community on a volunteer basis could give you an advantage.
Learn a foreign language: Including 3-4 years of a foreign language while in college is helpful. Neurosurgeons and neurologists work with many patients who do not speak English.
Learning a second language, Spanish, will help you stand out against other medical school candidates.
Step 2: Take the MCAT and apply to the Medical School
All medical schools require potential students to receive approval inspection as MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). You will accept this standardized test during your junior year of university.
The results of this test provide the medical school a good idea of the ability of their bachelor’s degree to be acquired. You need to get the minimum results if you want an interview with each medical department.
These school approvals are very competitive, and you take a special degree program to get the best score so you can plan something. AAMC has more information about MCAT. You can also contact the American Medical Association or the American Association of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM).
Step 3: Attend Medical School and Obtain a Medical Degree
Once you are in medical school, you will take four years of the medical curriculum. This general curriculum consists of medical classes that give you an overview of the content. In addition, experiential opportunities exist where you practice what you are learning in the classroom.
In the second half of a traditional four-year program, aspiring neurosurgeons and neurologists can register for courses that include medical diagnostics, disease management, and, in the case of neurosurgery, surgical practices.
When you get to the point of practical rotations, choose those experiences that allow you to examine and treat patients within what is called a teaching hospital.
Interacting with patients under the supervision of qualified neurologists or neurosurgeons exposes you to situations you may encounter in your practice.
For those wanting to be neurosurgeons, you want to be sure you are doing the same thing; only you will be under the supervision of an actual brain surgeon.
Step 4: Complete an Internship or Neurosurgical Residency Program
In addition to passing a medical licensure exam (explained in Step 5), you will complete an internship.
The internship allows you to apply everything you learned in medical school but under the supervision of a seasoned, qualified medical doctor.
This hands-on experience will make you a better physician and further prepare you for your specialization in neurology.
With your interest in neurology, part of your medical training will include a one-year hospital internship.
During this phase, you’ll manage patients and develop some of the skills that will be vital to your future career.
Part of your internship will include staying updated with the latest information in the field. In addition, while you are engaged in your internship, you will search for a residency program unique to the neurological specialty you selected.
Tracks include headache medicine, neuromuscular medicine, strokes, etc. If you desire to become a neurosurgeon, you’ll involve yourself in a neurosurgical internship.
Upon completion of your internship, you’ll enter your residency program. For the non-surgical neurologist, your residency will be about three years.
You’ll make hospital rounds with a supervising neurologist and have opportunities to monitor and examine patients.
Step 5: Get board certification and state license
Your journey is not over yet. There are eligibility and certification tests that must be completed and passed. They have both verbal and written elements. These exams assess your ability to apply the knowledge, principles, and concepts you have learned in school.
Completing these will enable independent verification that safe and effective patient care can be practiced. These tests are rigorous, and, like MCAT, it is highly recommended that you take the time to complete the review course before taking the exam.
Step 6: Continuing Education
Despite all the education required for becoming a neurologist or neurosurgeon, continuing education is necessary to renew your state license and board certification. Both of these have to be periodically updated for you to keep practicing.
Continuing education can be completed through fellowships for both neurologists and neurosurgeons. You can choose to focus on oncology or pediatrics, or other subspecialties within the field of neurology, surgical or non-surgical. Specialization requires several more years of education.
The length varies depending upon your subspecialty. For example, a vascular neurology fellowship may take only a year, but a child neurology fellowship could be three years.
Alternatively, you can attend classes and seminars offered by various medical associations and schools. There are local, state, and national medical organizations all over the country. Some are general, while others are particular. Some even accept student members. A web search can turn up ones in your geographic area.
No matter what option you choose, continuing education aims to ensure you remain current on new procedures, techniques, and breakthroughs in the field of neurology.
Residency programs are long and intense. But they can also be enjoyable because you are practicing in the field of your choice. In addition to working with patients, you’ll also attend lectures and have opportunities to discuss scenarios involving actual case studies.
To become a medical doctor, you must become fully state-licensed and board-certified. The first step in this process is applying to take the test through the United States Medical Licensing Examination organization.
This begins a three-step process sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). The American Medical Association (AMA) can also provide additional information.
The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. (ABPN) is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
The American Board of Neurological Surgery is also a member of the ABMS and facilitates the certification exam for neurosurgeons. Their website lists the training requirements, the components of the exam, and exam deadlines and testing dates.
Skills needed by a Neurologist
Apart from the six steps to becoming a neurologist in Canada, there are also skills needed to become a good neurologist. Neurologists work to treat or improve diseases of the brain and nervous system, including spinal cord tissue.
These doctors do not perform surgery, but their recommendations and diagnoses make patients suitable for such surgery. In addition, they work closely with psychiatrists and general practitioners to relieve the condition of specific patients. So, besides accuracy and communication skills, you need to think agnostically and sometimes find unusual solutions.
#1 Communication Skills
Before sending patients for testing, neurologists must thoroughly listen to the description of symptoms. They must be able to link what the patients are feeling to the possible causes could be. They have to separate the emotion their patients bring along with their issues to cut to the meat of the medical problem.
Once a neurologist has determined possible diagnoses, he will have to explain all testing and medical procedures in layperson’s terms.
Neurologists also have to practice open and friendly communication with all of the patients and other doctors and caretakers so that the patient receives comprehensive and understanding care from all sides and does not have to deal with opposing information in a time of great stress.
Read also: How to become an RCMP officer in Canada
#2 Research Skills
Neurologists not only take care of patients but also conduct research in the hope of advancing medicine and providing new treatments. Neurology is an expanding field; outdated information is useless and can even be dangerous.
The neurologist may offer experimental treatment or state-of-the-art technology to provide the best to the patient. There is constant progress in this area, and the research side of this work does not surprise trainees or new neurologists who have studied in clinical practice for many years before earning a medical degree.
#3 Memory Skills
Neurologists need exceptional memory skills to capture the specific needs and desires of each of their patients and keep the wealth of medical possibilities and test opportunities close at hand.
While they work to accept new technology and research medical advancements, they must remember older studies and outcomes to provide the best care for their patients.
Without seeing all the information in their field as a whole and in parts, a neurologist could miss important details or steer a patient in the wrong direction.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is neurology?
Neurology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, functions, and organic disorders of nerves and the nervous system.
How many years does it take to become a neurologist?
Neurologists typically need a bachelor’s degree, a degree from a medical school, which takes four years to complete, and 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.
What does a neurologist treat?
Neurologists treat disorders of the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles.
What are neurological disorders?
Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine, and nerves. There are more than 600 nervous system diseases, such as brain tumors, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
Neurology is a career with accomplishment and is also rewarding. It is a career that specializes in treating disorders of the nervous system. This article serves as a guide on the six steps to becoming a neurologist in Canada.
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