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What is it like for a neurologist during their shift?

So far I have learned that neurologists can be called in on their break, need to be ready at all times, can switch between multiple patients throughout the day, and that neurologists and neurosurgeons can go hand-in-hand during operations.
#neurology #a-day-in-the-life #neurologist #medicine #healthcare

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Lindsey’s Answer

Great question Harris. I'm sorry it hasn't been answered yet! I thought I'd link you to a few other relevant Q&A threads on that should be super helpful for you to read through. I also found this day in the life description from Laszlo B. Tamas, Neurosurgeon, 21 years practicing in Bay area on Quora:

One of the special things about neurosurgery is that there is rarely an "average day." We are on call so much - open to consults for trauma, emergencies and urgent cases - that we have surprisingly little control over our own time. It's one of the special problems we face more than other specialties, because we play vital roles in things like keeping a Trauma Center afloat (most serious trauma includes neurological trauma), yet our numbers are far smaller than other participants. Consider the effect on call schedule of the fact that for every 1 neurosurgeon, there are:

  • 20 internists
  • 6 general surgeons
  • 4 orthopedic surgeons
  • 4 cardiologists
  • 2 ENT surgeons
  • 2 neurologists

So the reality of our lives is that we have 2 jobs:

  1. elective practice (clinics, elective surgeries)
  2. on call (which can be as much as 1:2)

And much of our professional life is a conflict between these two.

I should add that a worrying trend of late has been that some neurosurgeons simply give up their craniotomy privileges (most serious disease in Neurosurgery is brain disease), stop taking call, and have a much more relaxed lifestyle (without much loss of income). Can't say that I blame them, though I don't think I will ever follow in their path. So ... if you ignore the unpredictable and highly stressful call coverage issue, here is what an average practice might look like. In a typical year, in the U.S., an average neurosurgeon does:

  • about 40 - 50 brain surgeries
  • about 160 - 180 spine surgeries

Some people - especially in larger neurosurgical groups - specialize further (e.g. in spine, or vascular neurosurgery, or brain tumors), so these numbers can vary a lot. Based on a typical "yield" of surgical cases from clinic (~30% - i.e. seeing 10 new patients in clinic yielding 3 surgical cases), and typical pace of clinic, a typical week might look like this:

  • 2 days in the operating room (start ~7:00 AM)
  • 2 - 3 full days in clinic
  • rounds:
  • in the morning (7:00 AM)
  • in the evening (perhaps ~7:00 PM)
  • what time is left goes to administration, meetings, QA functions etc. (again, being a small specialty means inordinate such duties)

If you like academics, you can tack on to this the time you spend doing (and applying for $$$ support) research and teaching, in return for which you have residents helping bear the burden. Few neurosurgeons work less than 50-60 hours a week (80+ is not at all unusual), practically all of them complain about lack of time with family (high divorce rate), and hobbies are usually flexible ones (e.g. if you run, better run around a track when you're on call). Few would do this job if they didn't love it ... like other branches of Medicine, "it's a life, not a job." My saving graces are that I love what I do, have great family understanding and support, and I'm something of an insomniac.

Q&A on about neurology:

How to go about becoming a neurosurgeon?

Deciding between neurology and anesthesiology

What are work hours as a neurologist like?

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Maria’s Answer

Here is a great info link